What Is A Curveball In Baseball

Curveball – Wikipedia

The curveball is a type of pitch used in baseball and softball that is thrown with a distinctive grip and hand action that imparts forward spin to the ball, causing it to dive as it approaches the plate. The 12–6 curveball, the power curveball, and the knuckle curve are all examples of curveball variations. Theslider and theslurve are two of its near cousins. From pitcher to pitcher, the “curve” of the ball varies somewhat. The phrase “throw a curveball” generally refers to the act of presenting a major divergence from a previously established concept or idea.

Grip and action

The curveball is handled in the same way that a cup or drinking glass would be. As seen from above, the pitcher positions the middle finger on and parallel to one of the long seams, and the thumb just behind the seam on the opposite side of the ball, so that the hand forms a “C shape” when viewed from above, with the horseshoe pointing inward and following the contour of the middle finger. Using the index and middle fingers, tuck the other two unnecessary fingers in towards the palm so that they contact the leather at the base of the knuckles of the ring finger.

The curveball and slider have grips and throwing motions that are remarkably identical to one another.

The pitcher will snap his arm and wrist in a downward motion as he approaches the peak of the throwing arc.

Because of the forward-spin created by the seam fastball, the result is the exact opposite pitch of the four-seam fastball’s backspin, but because all four seams are rotating in the same direction as the flight path, the axis of rotation is parallel to the intended flight path, much like a reel mower or a bowling ball.

  1. The more forceful the snap, the more likely it is that the pitch will shatter.
  2. A fastball’s apex does not necessarily have to occur at the moment of release, and the arc of the ball’s flight path arc commonly peaks shortly after the pitcher’s release point.
  3. When pitched at the major college level and above, the average velocity of a curveball is between 65 and 80 mph, with the average MLBcurve clocking in at 77 mph.
  4. In order to be successful, curveballs must begin breaking at the pinnacle of their arc of flight and then continue to break more and more swiftly as they approach, cross through, and depart from their target zone.
  5. Figure 1: Movement of a curveball after it has been thrown When it comes to professional baseball, the curveball is a popular and successful pitch.
  6. This is done out of concern for the pitcher’s safety, not because the pitch is difficult to learn – however the pitch is commonly seen as tough to learn due to the fact that it demands some level of skill and the ability to identify the placement of the thrown ball.

When throwing a curveball, there is a larger probability of throwing wild pitches than when throwing other pitches. This pitch, when thrown well, can have a break of anywhere between seven and 20 inches in compared to the same pitcher’s fastball when thrown incorrectly.


Because of the unusual action necessary to throw a curveball, it is regarded a more advanced pitch and has an increased risk of damage to a pitcher’s elbow and shoulder when used frequently. According to a story in The New York Times on March 12, 2012, there has been debate about whether curveballs alone are responsible for injuries in young pitchers or whether the amount of pitches thrown is a predisposing factor in the development of these problems. According to theory, giving the cartilage and tendons of the arm enough time to properly mature would help to prevent injury to the arm.

Specifically, the elbow ligaments, the biceps, and the forearm muscles are the areas of the arm that are most frequently hurt by the curveball.


There is a wide range of trajectories and breaks among pitchers when it comes to curveballs. This has a lot to do with the arm slot and release point of a certain pitcher, which are both influenced by how comfortable the pitcher is throwing the overhand curveball in the first place. The arm slot should be more or less vertical while throwing a curveball entirely overhanded, and the curveball should break straight downwards for pitchers who are capable of doing so. This is often as as a 12–6 curveball because the break of the pitch follows a straight downward path, similar to the hands of a clock at 12 and 6.

The arm slot of a pitcher who throws his or her curveball at an angle will result in a curveball that breaks down and toward the pitcher’s off-hand.

Because the slider and the curveball have virtually identical grips and throwing mechanics, this curveball breaks in a manner similar to a slider, it is often referred to as a ” slurve “.

When it comes to some pitchers, distinguishing between a curveball and other pitches such as a slider or a slurve can be difficult, if not impossible, to detect or explain.

A sweeping curveball, flat curveball, or frisbee curveball is a curveball that spins on a vertical axis completely perpendicular to its flight path and thus with complete side spin, and that is either 3–9 for a right-handed pitcher or 9–3 for a left-handed pitcher with a velocity of 3–9 for a right-handed pitcher.

  1. The majority of the time, this side spin is caused by a pitcher’s arm angle being either sidearm or at a very low 3/4 arm angle.
  2. This can happen for pitchers with a higher arm slot, but it is more often for pitchers with a lower arm slot.
  3. Like a football or bullet, the spin axis of a slider is roughly parallel to the ball’s flight path, although it is slanted slightly upwards, pointing to 12 o’clock, as opposed to a football or bullet.
  4. This slurve often occurs when a pitcher throws a curveball with too much power and not enough finesse, as opposed to a normal curveball.
  5. Sometimes the slurve will occur as a result of the pitcher supinating a bit too much at the release point of a slider, which may be referred to as a “slurvy slider” by fans.

A slurvy slider with the same velocity as a power slider (5–8 mph slower than a fastball) may be able to impart more break than a fastball in some situations.


In general, the Magnus effect defines the rules of physics that cause a curveball to curve in a certain direction. A fastball has backspin as it goes through the air, which generates a greater pressure zone in the air ahead of and under the baseball as it passes through. With the increased seams of the baseball, the ball is better able to establish a boundary layer, which results in a bigger differential pressure between the top and lower zones. Due to the additional pressure created by the ball riding on the ground, the influence of gravity is somewhat countered.

A curveball, thrown with topspin, on the other hand, generates a greater pressure zone on top of the ball, which causes the ball to deflect downward as it travels through the air.

Real or illusion?

The question of whether or not a curveball is genuinely curved or if it is an optical illusion was formerly up for dispute. To demonstrate that a curveball curves, Ralph B. Lightfoot, an aeronautical engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft, utilized wind tunnel measurements to verify his point in 1949. The following comment from Baseball Hall of Fame pitcherDizzy Dean on whether a curveball is generated by an illusion is one of many variants on this fundamental premise: “Stand behind a tree 60 feet away, and I will whomp you with an optical illusion!” Although it is possible that the optical illusion generated by the ball’s spinning plays a significant role in making curveballs tough to hit, it is not certain.

When a curveball travels smoothly down the middle of the plate, the hitter notices a rapid, dramatic shift in the ball’s path and reacts accordingly.

Although the internal spinning motion is not seen until it reaches the peripheral vision, it alters how the overall motion is interpreted when it enters the peripheral vision.

This theory was the subject of a peer-reviewed study that was published in 2010.


“The bender” and “the hook” are two popular nicknames for the curveball, which both refer to the pitch’s trajectory, as are “the yakker” and “Uncle Charlie,” which both refer to the pitcher. The legendary New York Mets pitcherDwight Gooden threw a curveball that was so lethal that it was nicknamed “Lord Charles,” and the legendary hitterBill Madlock dubbed it “the yellow hammer”—apparently because it came down like a hammer and was too yellow to be struck by a baseball bat.

Known as “the deuce” or “number two” Since catchers typically use two fingers to signal for a curveball, the pitch is also known as “the deuce” or “number two.”


Candy Cummings is credited with inventing the curveball in the early 1870s, according to baseball legend (it is debatable). Fred Goldsmith gave a demonstration of the “skewball” or “curveball” at the Brooklyn Capitoline Grounds in August 1870, which is considered to be the first known demonstration of the ball. Ponney Martin was described as a “very difficult pitcher to hit” by a writer for the New York Clipper in 1869, who noted that the ball “never comes in a straight line, but always in a tempting curve.” If the remark is correct, it would indicate that Cummings and Goldsmith were ahead of their time.

  1. While at Western Reserve College, now known as Case Western Reserve University, he was the first player to never lose a game.
  2. Barden became well-known for their use of the curveball.
  3. “How Science Won the Game” was the title of an article that appeared in St.
  4. It featured the story of a young pitcher who learned to master the curveball and use it to defeat opposing batters.
  5. P.
  6. Charles Eliot, the president of Harvard University, was one among many who opposed the curve, stating that it was a dishonest practice unworthy of Harvard students.
  7. And this is often regarded as the final victory of athletic science and talent in the modern era.

See also

  1. “Pitching 101” is a course that teaches you how to make a good pitch (PDF). The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published this article. “Curve Ball Grip” was published as a PDF on March 24, 2009, and has since been archived. On July 26, 2009, Efastball.com published an article that was subsequently archived. Retrieved on 2017-07-24
  2. “Holy mother of Strasburg (with Pitch f/x!)”
  3. “Holy mother of Strasburg (with Pitch f/x!)”. Hardballtimes.com, accessed on 2010-06-09
  4. Retrieved on 2010-10-27 Bill Pennington is an American businessman and philanthropist (2012-03-11). “Young Arms and Curveballs: A Scientific Twist” is the title of this article. The New York Times (New York)
  5. Bill Thurston is an American businessman and philanthropist (2008). Baseball-articles.com has information on when to teach the curve ball and how to teach it. The article “Pitching Science — Engineers who track baseballs catch insights into the game” was archived from the original on 2009-02-14 and retrieved on 2009-01-29
  6. 2001-06-09
  7. Retrieved on 2010-10-27
  8. Phschool.com (2001-06-9)
  9. Finalist in 2009 (2009-05-10). “2009 Vision Sciences Meeting: Curveball Demo Wins Illusion Contest”. Illusioncontest.neuralcorrelate.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-27. Retrieved2010-10-27
  10. “Revealed: Why curveballs are so difficult to hit”. Neurocorrelate.com. Archived from the original on 2010-10-27. Retrieved2010-10-27. New Scientist, June 7, 2009, retrieved on October 27, 2010
  11. Previous post Following up on that (2010-10-19). “Wired”. Wired. “Breaking Curveball Too Good to Be True – USC News”, which was retrieved on October 27, 2010. Uscnews.usc.edu. The original version of this article was published on October 13, 2010. Shapiro, Arthur
  12. Lu, Zhong-Lin
  13. Huang, Chang-Bing
  14. Knight, Emily
  15. Ennis, Robert (2010). Retrieved on October 27, 2010. (2010-10-13). “A Hypothesis Concerning the Perceived Break of the Curveball: A Hypothesis Concerning the Transitions Between Central and Peripheral Vision Create Spatial/Temporal Distortions.” PLOS ONE.5(10): e13296 (October 5, 2010). 2010PLoSO.513296S.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013296.PMC2954145.PMID20967247
  16. Bibcode: 2010PLoSO.513296S.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013296.PMC2954145.PMID20967247
  17. Terry McDermott is a writer and poet (May 16, 2017). Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception is a book on the sport of baseball and the art of deception. Knopf Doubleday, p. 46, ISBN 9780307908896
  18. “Charlton’s Baseball Chronology – 1869,” p. 46, ISBN 9780307908896
  19. “Charlton’s Baseball Chronology – 1869.” baseballlibrary.com. The original version of this article was published on December 11, 2008. James M. Egan, Jr., James M. Egan, Jr., James M. Egan, Jr. (21 May 2008). Base Ball on the Western Reserve: The Early Game in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, Year by Year and Town by Town, 1865-1900 is a book on the history of baseball on the Western Reserve. McFarland.ISBN9780786430673. “The Kent Stater, April 28, 1927 — Kent State University,” which was retrieved on May 9, 2018, from Google Books. dks.library.kent.edu. “Archived copy” was obtained on May 9, 2018. The original version of this article was published on February 24, 2014. Retrieved2013-03-23. :CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. “St. Nicholas”. ScribnerCompany. 9 May 1885. :CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. Obtainable on May 9, 2018– via Google Books
  22. Frank Presbrey and James Hugh Moffatt are two of the most well-known authors in the world (9 May 2018). “Princeton Athletics: A Historical Overview.” The Frank Presbrey Corporation Obtainable on May 9, 2018– via Google Books
  23. ‘A look inside: Eliot House,’ the Harvard Gazette reported on April 19, 2012. retrieved on October 14, 2015
  24. Kiara F. Z. Barrow is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (7 November 2013). “Throwback Thursday”.Harvard Crimson, April 15, 2010. 9th of May, 2018
  25. Retrieved 9th of May, 2018. Richard Herschberger’s “With a Deliberate Attempt to Deceive” is available online. SABR is an abbreviation for the Society for American Baseball Research. Spring 2017 issue of Baseball Research Journal. retrieved on March 25, 2020
  26. ‘Give the Batsman a Fair Shot,’ the saying goes. The New York Clipper is a fictional character mentioned in the Herschberger piece quoted above. On the 19th of January, the New York Clipper published No. Vol. XXXI No. 44, Column 3. On the 25th of March in the year 2020,
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External links

  • It is believed that Candy Cummings was the creator of the curveball. Version 2: Fred Goldsmith, co-developer of the curveball or the pitcher who threw what is believed to be the first documented display of the curveball, is the most likely candidate. In Navier-Stokes Flow, the Aerodynamics of a Curveball is studied. How to Throw a Curveball – wikiHow website describing the method of throwing a curveball

How to Throw a Curveball

Welcome to the fourth installment of our “How to Throw” series.

Curveballs are one of the most commonly used breaking pitches, and we’ll talk about them in this piece. The following material will act as a guide and will give specifics that will assist you in developing your own high-quality curveball.

Overview of a Curveball

A curveball is a breaking pitch that has a significant downward movement and is used to break up a game of baseball. Unlike fastballs, which are often thrown with backspin to produce lift, curveballs are typically delivered with topspin to induce drop. As a baseball approaches home plate, topspin is what causes it to slide downwards (assisted by the force of gravity) as it travels down the field. Typically, this pitch type is thrown at a release point that is comparable to that of a fastball, but with a little less extension than a fastball.

The variances between the two pitches aid in deceiving batters, who are left scratching their heads as to what actually transpired.

How to Grip a Curveball

If you’re familiar with this pitch, you’ve probably heard of the “12-6” or “knuckle” curve, which is a type of pitching curve. The diverse titles convey the proper idea that there are several methods to throw a curveball in different directions. With the help of our grip tracker database, we are able to account for a variety of grips and ball orientations at Driveline Golf. The “CB 1” grip is the most often employed by our sportsmen. The middle and index fingers are strategically positioned on the ball, which is considered a typical grip by many.

  1. They are utilized in conjunction with one another to apply the greatest amount of force possible in order to create spin.
  2. We will be able to throw a more effective curveball if we do so.
  3. Take notice of how the ball has been nestled into the palm of your hand.
  4. Pitchers who keep the ball tucked between their hands are able to apply more pressure to the ball, which in turn generates higher velocity and spin.
  5. After you’ve found a comfortable position for your fingers, you should squeeze the ball between your thumb, index, and middle fingers with a significant amount of pressure.

How to Throw a Curveball

When opposed to fastballs or changeups, a curveball is released in a different way. Take a peek at the Edgertronic film provided below as an example. Take note of how the pitcher’s hand is positioned slightly to the side. When the fingers come in front of the ball and pull down on the pitch, topspin is produced, and finally the ideal top-down movement is achieved. To “yank” the ball down with your middle finger or to “throw the ball with the back of your hand,” are two cues we propose. It should feel as though the pitch “shoots” out of the hand as it is released from the hand.

It is possible to pay attention to the sort of spin and movement the ball exhibits during catch play or bullpens even if you do not have access to high-speed camera footage.

It may take some time to have a feel for this pitch, but continued practice and the use of various cues will aid in your progress.

Analyzing Curveball Movement

When you’re ready to put on aRapsododevice to track your progress, you may use the horizontal and vertical break plots to chart the movement profile of your pitch as it moves through the air. In this graph, we can see that curveballs, which are shown in yellow on the graph, would fall to the bottom of the graph as negative vertical movement increased. It is vital to notice that the break on a pitcher’s curveball will often correspond to the position of his arm in the zone. A higher release point will result in a movement profile that is more top-down in nature, comparable to the example above.

However, the lower the arm slot of a pitcher, the more likely it is that a curveball will have some horizontal movement.

There isn’t an one sort of curveball that surpasses the others by a wide margin.

The latter, on the other hand, may provide batters with more time to respond.

Additional Grips and Cues

Additional grips and cues are provided in the section below. You’ll see that there are around five more sorts of curveball grips that are popular among our sportsmen. Each grip will differ in terms of either seam orientation or the use of the index finger. The seam position is the most significant distinction between CB 1 and CB 2. While both the index and middle fingers are put on the ball, the placement of the index and middle fingers vary. For example, in CB 2, the horseshoe is leveraged in conjunction with the inner seams, which may result in improved feel and outcomes for a particular athlete.

  1. This sort of grip becomes to resemble a “knuckle-curve” or “spiked curve” as it becomes more advanced.
  2. The amount of pressure applied by the fingertip will differ from athlete to athlete depending on their level of comfort.
  3. CB 5 and CB 6 are our final two grips, and both have the index finger fully off of the ball.
  4. Because the middle finger is responsible for the majority of the labor involved in imparting spin, the index finger moves out of the way to allow the middle finger to exert the greatest amount of power onto the ball.

CB 4″Standard w/ Index Off” CB 5 “Standard w/ Index Off” A horseshoe with the index turned off. CB 6.


There are a plethora of elements to consider while attempting to throw a curveball. There are a variety of factors that may come into play, including your level of comfort and finger length. So that you can attain the pitch you desire, it’s vital to experiment with different grips. Mike Tampellini contributed to this article. Learn how to throw a cutter and a slider by reading these articles. Check out How to Throw a Changeup for more information. Learn how to throw a sinker or two-seam fastball by reading this article.

In baseball, how does a pitcher throw a curveball?

It is estimated that a successful big league batter gets a hit only 30% of the time he comes to bat in the majors. Curveballs are one of the ways in which pitchers can further reduce their chances of striking out. A curveball is a pitch that looks to be travelling straight toward home plate, but that is actually moving down and to the right or left by several inches rather than straight at home plate. It goes without saying that a pitch that curves will be more difficult to hit than a fastball that is travelling straight.

  1. A pitcher must grip the baseball between his thumb and index and middle fingers, with the middle finger resting on the seam of the baseball, in order to throw a curveball well.
  2. A proper pitching motion will result in the pitcher’s rear hand being facing the batter at the conclusion of the pitching motion.
  3. The trick to throwing a curveball is the spinning movement caused when the pitcher releases the ball from his or her grip.
  4. The top of the ball is spinning directly into the air, while the bottom of the ball is spinning in the direction of the air current.
  5. The Magnus Effect, named after scientist Gustav Magnus, who discovered in 1852 that a spinning object going through liquid is compelled to move sideways, is a term used to describe this imbalance of forces.
  6. Because they are elevated, the stitches increase the amount of friction caused when the air goes around the ball, increasing the amount of air pressure applied to the ball’s top surface.

A well-thrown curveball has the potential to travel as much as 17 inches in any direction. Those of you who have witnessed a hitter leap out of the path of a baseball that ends up across the plate have witnessed a terrific curveball.

Science of Baseball

Getting Knocked For a Loop Every major league pitcher possesses a diverse range of pitches in his repertoire. Years of effort, as well as trial and error, have gone into making these pitches flawless. A curveball, slider, or even a screwball with a regular baseball may have been something you’ve attempted but failed to achieve well. The use of a Styrofoam ball makes it much easier to throw these pitches and monitor the outcomes, which we have shown to be true.

What You Need

Make an attempt to throw the various pitches listed here.

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Using your index and middle fingers, hold the ball near the ends of your fingers and throw it with a normal overhand delivery. Backwards spin on the ball should cause it to roll off your fingertips (it will tend to rise). Outfielders typically toss the ball in this direction because the rising movement allows them to throw it far further than they otherwise could. ‘Choke’ the ball (wedge it down between your thumb and forefinger) and cock your wrist to the left; when you release your wrist, the ball snaps down and to the right.

  1. Experiment with different speeds and spins to see what works best for you.
  2. As you throw the ball, cock the wrist to the right initially then “flip the ball over” to the left as you release it.
  3. Slider: Throw the ball as if it were a football pass, with the wrist cocked at a 90-degree angle to the ground.
  4. Please keep in mind that the slider ball is not recommended for players under the age of 18 – some coaches and trainers recommend players over the age of 21.

What’s Going On?

The key to comprehending a curveball is to pay attention to the speed with which the air moves past the ball’s surface. As the ball spins, the top surface of the ball travels in the same direction as the air is traveling. Toward the bottom of the ball, the surface of the ball and the movement of the air are in opposing directions. As a result, the velocity of the air relative to the surface of the ball is greater on the bottom of the ball than on the top of the ball. It doesn’t seem to make a difference.

  1. As a result of the tension, air moving around the ball is more likely to “break free” from the ball’s surface sooner.
  2. Consequently, the air flowing over the ball’s surface causes it to move in a path that is somewhat downward rather than straight back.
  3. Consequently, while the spinning ball pulls the air down, the air pushes the ball up in reaction to the spinning ball.
  4. By the time it reaches the plate, a major league curveball can have deviated as much as 17 1/2 inches from the intended trajectory.
  5. As a result, curveballs do the majority of their bending in the latter quarter of their journey.
  6. It’s no surprise that curveballs are difficult to hit.
  7. (Other essential elements to consider include the pitching speed and the rate of spin.) The front of the ball (home plate side, when pitched) will curve in the same way as it rotates when it is delivered with a spin, according to general rule.

If the ball is spinning from left to right, the pitch will break toward third base, as seen in the illustration. The more quickly the ball spins, the more curved the path of the ball becomes.

How To Throw A Filthy Curveball (19 Pictures Of Grips)

HomeArticles PitchGrips for Curveballs Learn more about my pitchers’ exercise routines here. The proper method of developing functional strength should be used. Discover my pitching routines and throwing plans for athletes that are dedicated to their craft and refuse to accept defeat. More information may be found here. Do you have the ability to toss a curve ball? Learn everything there is to know about throwing a curveball that is more than just “dirty” or “mean,” and which usually entails humiliating the hitter, in this article.

  • It’s impossible not to spend the entire day watching Clayton Kershaw throw curveballs like this one, as they smoothly fall into the zone over and over again.
  • It is distinct from the fastball in that its rotation is from top to bottom, rather than from bottom to top as is the case with the fastball.
  • During this specific throw, the fast hand speed transmits leverage to the front of the ball, resulting in the 12-6 movement that distinguishes the curveball from other pitches.
  • As soon as it reaches home plate, it begins to plummet.
  • FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER Sign up for my daily pitching tips email newsletter to receive exclusive tips and insights that are not available anywhere else on the web.

Curveball grip

So, what exactly is the trick to throwing a nice curveball? Examine how to grip and throw the curveball in greater detail. Baseball-pitching-tips.com is the source of this image.

  1. Take a baseball in your hand and place your index finger on it
  2. Placing your middle finger along the seam of the baseball is a good idea. Place your thumb on the rear seam of the garment
  3. In order to throw this pitch well, your thumb should spin upward and your middle finger should snap downward. The arm motion is a bit shortened near the end of the video. Bring the elbow of your throwing hand to the opposite hip, which will lessen your follow through but will let you to snap off the pitch

More images of curveball grips

Baseball-pitching-tips.com is the source of this image. WHAT IF I TOLD YOU? A unique feature of the curve is that it spins from top to bottom, rather than from bottom to top, as is the case with the fastball. This is due to the fact that the curve ball is thrown with the wrist cocked such that the thumb is on top of the ball, rather than being released forward in the direction of the fingers toward the batter. During the descent of the arm, the ball rolls along the outside of the index finger, which causes it to rotate downward.

If the pitcher throws the ball straight over the top or with a greater sidearm motion, it is possible that the ball will break across the plate and land up outside the infield.

My favorite GIF of throwing a curveball

When you put everything together, it looks like this.

A fantastic curveball from Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Corey Kluber: pitcherlist.com is the source of this image. Those are some incredible pitching skills there!

Learn more about my workout programs for pitchers

When it comes to baseball, one of the most common myths is that playing the game keeps you in condition to pitch. That would be fantastic if it were true. It is not the case. Preparation is critical in order to go to the next level. Pitchers in the major leagues spend significantly more time preparing to prepare than they do actually pitching. You may learn more about my fitness and pitching programs for baseball pitchers of all ages if you feel that increasing your velocity will be vital to your future success.

What do you think?

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts: Did I overlook any interesting grips, tactics, or tips? Alternatively, perhaps you have an idea for how I might improve this post even further. In any case, please leave a remark and let me know. Next, check out this cheat sheet on pitching grips, which explains how to throw eight different baseball pitches.

How does a curveball curve? An aerospace engineer explains

He has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond his or her academic appointment, including any consulting or advisory roles, ownership of shares in or funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article. Jim Gregory has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond his or her academic appointment.


As a founding partner of The Conversation US, The Ohio State University contributes financially to the organization. See all of our partners A pitcher tries to get a ball past a hitter with his pitching motion. Eric Gay for Associated Press Images Curious Kids is a children’s television programme that is suitable for children of all ages. If you have a question that you’d want an expert to answer, you can submit it to [email protected] or leave a comment below. What is the shape of a curveball?

  1. One of the most perplexing pitches for batters is the curveball, which appears to be going straight at first but gradually bends away as it nears home plate.
  2. In this case, the rotation might be a “topspin” rotation, in which the ball’s top spins forward as it hurtles towards the plate.
  3. Because of the friction between the air and the ball, as the ball is spinning, it is dragging the air along with it.
  4. As the ball spins, the air on the top of the ball slows down, causing it to become more dense.
  5. As it spins and travels closer to the plate, it is pulling the air behind it, increasing the speed of the flow of air.
  6. Lower-speed air has more pressure than higher-speed air.
  7. The difference in force applied on either side of the ball causes the ball to be pushed in a specific direction.
  8. A force will be exerted against it if it is being spun to the side by the spinning mechanism.
  9. When it comes to plane wings, the top of the wing has low pressure, but the bottom of the wing has more pressure.
  10. It is the movement of air over the wing that provides the pressure differences that allow an airplane to take off and take off again.
  11. Hello there, inquisitive youngsters!

Request that an adult email your question to [email protected] on your behalf. Please provide us with your name, age, and the city in which you reside. There is a chance that we will not be able to address all of your questions, but we will try our best.

How Does a Curveball Curve?

Harold Riddle | Dreamstime provided the image for this post. Generally speaking, when we throw baseballs to our pals, the trajectory of the ball in the air is very predictable for the most part. Professional pitchers, on the other hand, have the ability to make baseballs do extraordinary things, such as curve at the last second in order to fool a batter. What is the shape of a curveball? It all comes down to the arm and the science. Flying is made possible by the same mechanisms that enable baseball curveballs to curve.

  1. In order to throw a curveball, the pitcher must rotate the ball as it is released from his or her hands.
  2. To be more specific, the spin causes air on one side of the ball to travel quicker than air on the other, resulting in unequal pressure on the ball, which causes it to curve.
  3. Additionally, the high seams of the baseball aid in ball guidance by producing airflow resistance.
  4. ” The conventional curveball, which breaks to the left or right, depends on the lateral force created by the quick spin of the ball.
  5. The effect of spin is really powerful.
  • Baseball outfielders must know where to go in order to make a catch in order to win the game. What is the purpose of a pitcher’s mound in baseball
  • What is the most difficult sport to play

Do you have a question? Send your question to Life’s Little Mysteries, and we’ll do our best to respond. Due to the high amount of questions, we are unable to respond to each one individually. However, we will post replies to the most exciting topics, so please check back soon for updates. Benjamin Radford is a columnist on the Live Science website who writes about bad science. Pseudoscience, psychology, urban legends, and the science underlying “unexplained” or inexplicable phenomena are all topics covered by him.

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He lives in New York City.

His webpage may be found here.

The History Behind Baseball’s Weirdest Pitch

If you were to divide pitches into two categories, you’d select “fastball” and “other,” which are the two most common. Pitching is made more fascinating by the presence of the “other.” If the ball was always hit straight down the middle, pitchers would essentially be mere bureaucrats, their sole purpose being to service the batters. As the name indicates, they were once exactly what they claimed to be. Consider the sport of horseshoe pitching: you’re making an underhanded toss to a precise place.

  • Batters had the option of specifying whether they wanted the pitch to be high or low for 20 years, from 1867 to 1886.
  • If pitchers had not found their ability to have overwhelming influence over the game, baseball may have continued as a test of hitting, running, and fielding abilities.
  • The term “curveball” was coined long before cameras and websites could categorize every pitch into a specific form.
  • It was essentially everything that wasn’t a fastball that was referred to as the “other.” During my study on the history of curveballs in the Baseball Hall of Fame Library in Cooperstown, I was startled by the number of people who claimed to have invented the pitch.
  • Billy Dee was credited for inventing the curveball in 1881, according to the newspaper.
  • He says he practices and practices until “I soon was able to loop the old apple without advantage of the torn seam.” This sounds great, but what exactly is it?
  • At Cooperstown, there are a plethora of such anecdotes stored in the archives and historical texts.

There’s even an ancient Ivy League controversy from the 1870s about who was the first to curve: Charles Avery of Yale or Joseph Mann of Princeton?

What could be more distinctly American than this?

Mann, on the other hand, confesses that he was influenced by a movie he saw one day at Princeton called Candy Cummings.

Are you still perplexed?


It should always be this simple to learn about history.

because it is.

Cummings is almost a founding member of the Hall of Fame, having been inducted into the Hall with the fourth class of honorees in 1939.

What could be more distinctly American than this?

We were intrigued by the physics of it and worked with it for at least an hour and a half.

Cummings was born in Ware, Massachusetts, in 1848, and according to various stories, he was a member of the old Massachusetts game before relocating to Brooklyn in 1870.

Pitchers in Massachusetts were authorized to throw overhand in the 1850s, which made it simpler to throw curveballs since they were more consistent.

“But when he moved to Brooklyn and began playing the “New York game,” the delivery restrictions made the pitch seem impossible.” Morris wrote that the pitch was “impossible” because of the delivery restrictions.

Both his lonely tenacity in honing the pitch, despite derision from his friends, and the physical toll imposed by the delivery limits of the day were underlined by Cummings in his speech.

According to Cummings, in an undated interview released after his career, “the arm also had to be held towards the side and the delivery had to be delivered with a perpendicular swing.” “It was a difficult strain to follow these directions because the wrist and second finger had to do all of the job.” I had a tendency to whip the ball away from me, which caused my wrist bone to get out of place on a number of occasions.

  • A supporter was had to be worn on my wrist for the whole of one season as a result of this strain.” In 1864, Cummings moved from Brooklyn to attend a boarding school in Fulton, New York.
  • From there, he was recruited to the Excelsior Club as a junior member, both in terms of age and size: he would grow to reach 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh a maximum of 120 pounds before leaving the club.
  • because it is.
  • He demonstrated that pitchers of various sizes might thrive by relying on movement and deception rather than solely on their strength.
  • Cummings began to demonstrate this in 1867, when the Excelsiors defeated the Harvard Crimson in a game at Harvard.
  • The fact that I had created a ball curve was something I wanted to scream out to everyone; it was too fantastic to keep to myself.
  • Every time I was successful, I couldn’t hold myself from breaking out into a joyful dance out of pure excitement.

When the ball started at the hitter’s body and caused him to leap before bending into the strike zone, the umpire ruled that it was a ball and called the batter out.

‘By the time it got to the batter, it was too far away,’ he explained.

Cummings was a pitcher for the New York Mutuals of the National Association by the time he was 23 years old.

Cummings started 55 of the Mutuals’ 56 games, pitching 497 innings and allowing 604 hits for a 33-20 record and a 3.01 earned run average.

Cummings pitched for the Hartford Dark Blues during the inaugural season of the National League in 1876, going 16-8.

Bobby Mathews, a strange contemporary, would go on to achieve greater success in the future.

Mathews’ approach would be followed by generations of pitchers who would see something unusual, analyze it, and make it their own.

And then he began to utilize the pitching machine in matches, striking out opponents in a way that no one else had ever done before, and in a short period of time he became renowned as one of the most effective pitchers on the field.” Mathews went on to have three consecutive 30-win seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, the first of which came in 2001.

  • Assuming, of course, that you had any faith in it.
  • The idea that the curveball could be an optical illusion was a mainstay of the baseball discussion for a long time.
  • This was something that happened a lot.
  • Radbourn, whose “pitching deity; elegant gent” reputation would one day make him a Twitter celebrity, was a National League hero from the beginning of the league’s existence.
  • When the professors set up their poles and dared Radbourn to throw curveballs to his catcher, Barney Gilligan, it’s safe to say that they were full of mistaken confidence in their abilities.
  • A fantastic inward curve took it behind the pole in front of Gilligan, where it passed behind the pole right in front of Gilligan—an inshoot that was a corker.” This was something he said countless times.
  • “Drop balls,” as Radbourn’s pitches were known, were described by Dodson, albeit not all of these throws were curveballs in the traditional sense.

It was his responsibility on that day at Harvard to demonstrate that something other than a fastball existed, and Dodson was satisfied that the problem was finally resolved.

According to Carl Erskine, the issue was still up for debate in the middle of the twentieth century for certain people.

Erskine learned a new grip in Cuba prior to the 1948 season and used it to preserve a shutout in the ninth inning after a leadoff triple put the opposition on the board with two outs.

“My first thought was, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve got to go back to my old curveball,’ and then I thought, ‘I’ve got to get this shutout,'” Erskine recalls.

The rest is history.” “From that point on, I had a lot of confidence in myself, and the rest is history.” Erskine’s career with the Dodgers includes five World Series championships and a tight escape from infamy on one occasion.

Manager Charlie Dressen went to the bullpen and asked one of the coaches, Clyde Sukeforth, whose pitcher he thought looked better than the others.

They ask me, ‘Carl, what was your finest pitch throughout the course of your 12 major league seasons?'” Erskine says this with a chuckle.

“It’s possible that it was me.” The deadly fastball that Bobby Thomson smashed into the left-field seats, the legendary “Shot Heard Round the World,” was, in fact, thrown by Branca, who had thrown the game-winning pitch the night before.

Anyway, it was at this time when Erskine’s appeal effectively put an end to the tiresome dispute over the legitimacy of the claims he was making.

On one occasion, they dispatched a team to Ebbets Field to ask for Preacher Roe, a left-handed pitcher who threw an overhand curveball, and me to come out early.

“ So we were getting ready to head out to the field, and I scuffed up a brand new baseball to make sure I had a good bite on it before throwing it out there.

In response, this director exclaims, “My God, is there any doubt?” So he was a rookie when it came to seeing pitches, but when he did, he exclaimed, ‘Holy cow!

And you could simply say, “Yes, there is no mistake about it: a revolving pitch may break out of a straight line and become a curveball,” which is an accurate statement.

He pointed out that the index finger is practically in the way, which reminded him of a man he encountered when playing in the “3-I” League (Iowa, Indiana, and Illinois), where he was a player in 1946 and 1947, respectively.

“He lived in the Terre Haute House, which was the Phillies’ minor league affiliate, and he would come down and talk to us in the lobby, showing us his hand, where he had this farm accident that took away not only his first finger of his right hand, but it also took away his knuckle.” He therefore had a hand with three fingers (hence his nickname “Three Finger” Brown), which allowed him to make the most possible use of his second finger while throwing the curveball, because his first finger was entirely out of the way when throwing the fastball.

“He was usually dressed in a shirt and tie, and he was a true gentlemen.” In any case, he was an elderly guy at that time, and we were merely youngsters in the minor league.

The ability to throw the curveball with a lot of tight rotation provided him the competitive advantage over everyone.

In that case, he must have been throwing a wicked curveball.” Indeed, he did, and the narrative of his life enthralled audiences.

He was just five years old at the time.

A few weeks later, his hand still in a splint, Mordecai and his sister were playing with a pet rabbit, trying to make it swim in a tub.

It was a very uncomfortable, almost slapstick process that resulted in the correct gnarled curveball hand shape.

As The Chicago Inter Ocean put it in 1910, at the height of Brown’s fame with the Cubs, “When Brown holds the ball in that chicken’s foot of a hand and throws it out over that stump, the sphere is given a peculiar twist.” A spitter-like behavior is displayed by the device.

” Brown had a 49-15 record with a 1.44 earned run average over the 1907 and 1908 seasons on his way to the Hall of Fame.

He passed away in 1948, only a few years after he would have had the opportunity to meet the young Carl Erskine.

In the words of K: A HISTORY OF BASEBALL IN TEN PITCHES Tyler Kepner contributed to this article. The publisher, DOUBLEDAY, has granted permission for this use. Tyler Kepner has copyright protection for the year 2019.

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