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Q & A: Pitching Fastballs

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
When a pitcher throws a 100 MPH fastball does that mean is hand is moving at 100 MPH?
- Darin (age 20)
UIUC, Urbana
A:
Darin -

Yep, you've got it. There are only 2 things that can give the baseball its speed. One thing is how much of an extra shove the pitcher gives the ball as he lets go of it. The other thing is how fast the ball is going just before he lets go (i.e. how fast his hand is going). It would be very difficult to give the ball an extra push while letting go of it, since the pitcher usually lets go of the ball with his arm fully extended and moving very fast. So most (in fact, virtually all) of the ball's speed comes from how fast his hand and fingers are moving.

-Tamara

(published on 10/22/2007)

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