The Fastest Man on Earth

Aroldis Chapman, LHP Cincinnati Reds

Say “Hello” to Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds, now officially a part of baseball history after throwing the fastest pitch ever recorded in a major league game (105 mph) on Friday, 9/24/10 in a game vs. the San Diego Padres.

Chapman is a 22 year-old LHP who in this 1 1/3 inning outing threw 25 pitches, and ALL of them were over 100 mph. Tony Gwynn was the batter when the 105 mph heater went by, and said

“I didn’t see it until the ball was behind me. I was trying not to look at the radar reading because I’d be intimidated… When a guy is throwing that hard, you feel sort of helpless.”

Before this past Friday, the fastest pitch recorded in MLB history (following the advent of radar guns in the 1980’s) was 104.8 mph thrown by Joel Zumaya of the Detroit Tigers during the Playoffs on 10/10/06. Chapman previously threw 104 mph in his 2nd major league appearance this past August, and 105 mph earlier this season while with Triple-A Louisville.

Aroldis Chapman played for Team Cuba during the 2009 World Baseball Classic and then defected during a tournament in the Netherlands later that year. He signed with the Reds for 6 years starting in 2010.

Having just started his career, Chapman has already made baseball history.  Here’s hoping this flamethrower stays in the game for many years to come.

Fastest Recorded MLB Pitches
Name Team Year MPH
Aroldis Chapman Reds 2010 105
Joel Zumaya Tigers 2006 104.8
Aroldis Chapman Reds 2010 104
Mark Wohlers Braves 1995 103
Armando Benitez Mets 2002 102
Jonathan Broxton Dodgers 2009 102
Neftali Feliz Rangers 2010 102
Bobby Jenks White Sox 2005 102
Randy Johnson Diamondbacks 2004 102
Matt Lindstrom Marlins 2007 102
Robb Nen Marlins 1997 102
Justin Verlander Tigers 2007 102

Amazing Japanese Pitch

Here’s amazing footage of a Japanese baseball pitch recently thrown: the “Reverse Eephus.” Hilarious thing is the batter is rung up for a strike and dosen’t know what the hell just happened. Guess Diasuke Matsuzaka’s mythical “Gyro Ball” has nothing on this.

Nuf Ced!

Spaceman’s Still Spiff!

Bill Lee, Boston Red Sox 1975

Bill Lee, Brockton Rox 2010 (Kevin Tocci)

Bill “Spaceman” Lee, legendary off-beat LHP of the Boston Red Sox who played from 1969-1982 made baseball history on this past Sunday 9/5/10 as the oldest pitcher to play in a professional baseball game at 63 years old.

(Kevin Tocci Photo)

The “Spaceman” started on the mound for the CanAmLeague’s Brockton Rox vs. the Worcester Tornadoes, pitched 5 1/3 innings and earned the 7-3 win. Starting off the fun with a deceptive eephus pitch to make himself look like an old man, Lee then demonstrated superior command; allowing only 5 hits and 2 runs while giving up 1 walk and collecting 1 strikeout. Although he went 0 for 3 at the plate, “Spaceman” also brought the refreshing old-school style of a pitcher who is willing to take his hacks.

An amazing guy, Bill Lee has now been pitching for more than 50 years, perhaps a tribute to his active lifestyle of cutting wood and making bats for players like David Ortiz. He has also been an at-large ambassador for baseball around the world in unlikely places such as Cuba, China and Russia.

Lee is truly someone for whom “Baseball is Life.” He also has a cool attitude to keep things in perspective:

“I think about the cosmic snowball theory. A few million years from now the sun will burn out and lose its gravitational pull. The earth will turn into a giant snowball and be hurled through space. When that happens it won’t matter if I get this guy out.”

Nuf ced.

Bats Not Allowed in Little League for 2011

I have just received a  new email from Little League International which now imposes a moratorium on the use of composite non-wood bats at certain levels of play in Little League Youth Baseball for the upcoming 2011 season.

Once again, this email is authorized by Little League International for redistribution so I have reproduced it here in its entirety (with emphases added) for interested readers. I will continue to post the updates as I receive them as this is clearly still an evolving story for 2011. Again, the bottom line is to be very careful to avoid the purchase of new composite non-wood bats as described in the following letter if your player participates in the Junior, Senior or Big League Divisions:

September 1, 2010

TO: Local Little League Presidents, District Administrators, and Regional Field Staff.

FROM: Patrick W. Wilson, Vice President of Operations, Little League International.

RE: Moratorium on Composite Bats in Junior League, Senior League and Big League Divisions of Baseball.

A moratorium on the use of composite bats in the Junior, Senior, and Big League Baseball Divisions of Little League was enacted on Aug. 27, 2010, by the Little League International Board of Directors, effective immediately. The moratorium shall be in effect until further notice by Little League International.

The moratorium covers all games and practices only in the three divisions referenced above. It closely follows a similar moratorium approved in July 2010 by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS), based on a recommendation from its Baseball Rules Committee. The NFHS Board enacted a rule to prohibit the use of composite bats until they can produce consistent compliance with the standards through the life of the bat.

Waivers of the moratorium may be considered by Little League International in certain circumstances. For 2011, a manufacturer may apply for a waiver of the moratorium for a particular model of composite bat if all of the requirements for a waiver, as established by Little League International, are satisfied. Composite bats that are certified by an approved independent testing laboratory as meeting the current Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR), and the Accelerated Break-In (ABI) procedure, will be eligible for the waiver in 2011. Little League International will provide a list of bat models, if any, that receive waivers of the moratorium.

Not covered under the Little League moratorium are wood bats, metal bats, or bats that have composite materials in the handle only. A composite bat is one that has a metal shell, but a woven composite of fibers on the inside of the barrel portion of the bat.

Currently, the moratorium on composite bats does not apply to the Little League Baseball (Majors) Division and below, nor does it apply to any division of softball. Little League International, in consultation with independent experts, anticipates being able to provide local league constituents clear direction regarding composite bats in the Little League Baseball (Majors) 12-and-under divisions, prior to the start of the 2011 season.

Sincerely,

Patrick W. Wilson

Vice President of Operations

Little League International
P.O. Box 3485
539 US Route 15 Hwy
Williamsport, PA 17701-0485
Phone: 570-326-1921
Fax: 570-326-1074