Beanball

"Beanball" is a colloquialism used in baseball, for a ball thrown at an opposing player with the intention of striking them such as to cause harm, often connoting a throw at the player's head (or "bean" in old-fashioned slang).[1] A pitcher who throws beanballs often is known as a "headhunter". The term may be applied to any sport in which a player on one team regularly attempts to throw a ball toward the general vicinity of a player of the opposite team, but is typically expected not to hit that player with the ball. In cricket, the equivalent term is "beamer". Some people use the term, beaner, though that usage is discouraged because of the negative connotations associated with that usage.[2]

Baseball runner hit by ball (illustration)
Runner hit by ball

Baseball

Ray Chapman Baseball
Ray Chapman, killed by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays in 1920.

In baseball, a beanball is a pitch, similar to a brushback pitch but actually intended to hit the batter as it is thrown at the head. It is rarely used as a strategic weapon, and is usually an act of anger and frustration; however, batters facing known headhunters are given a reason to fear a beanball and may alter their approach to hitting in the interests of self-protection, perhaps giving some strategic advantage to the pitcher. Some pitchers have been known to throw beanballs in response to giving up home runs. Teams with heated rivalries often find several beanballs exchanged in a season.

Beanballs can sometimes lead to fights, charging the mound, and bench-clearing brawls. Because of the hazards of the pitch and the possibility of fights, umpires will now often warn teams, after beanballs or fights have occurred, that any pitcher who throws at a batter will be ejected from the game with a mandatory one day suspension for the pitcher's manager. Throwing at batters can sometimes lead to suspension for a number of games as well. Managers may also be ejected if, in the umpire's judgment, they encouraged their pitcher to throw a beanball.

Several players' careers have been impaired or derailed after being struck with a beanball. Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane was knocked unconscious and later hospitalized for 7 days in 1937, and never played another game. In 1941, Dodgers outfielder Pete Reiser was hospitalized for a month, one of numerous injuries which shortened his career. Lou Boudreau played only sporadically after being beaned in 1951, and retired the following season. Tony Conigliaro missed over a year after being hit in the eye, and his vision later deteriorated to the point where he was forced to retire. Dickie Thon returned from a gruesome beaning in 1984, but never matched his earlier success. On September 28, 1995, Kirby Puckett, the superstar outfielder of the Minnesota Twins, was struck in the cheek by a Dennis Martínez fastball, breaking his jaw and loosening two teeth. It would be his last game; during spring training the following year he developed glaucoma, which ended his career. In 2005, the Cubs' Adam Greenberg was hit in the head with the first pitch that he faced in his major league career. Ron Santo, who thought he had lost an eye when his cheekbone was broken by a pitch in 1966, rushed back to the lineup. He described his attitude: "It was like, 'Here, hit me again.' I didn't have any fear. I just went on. When you get older, maybe fear does set in. Nobody will admit that, but it does happen." Don Zimmer, who was nearly killed by a beanball in 1953 and had four metal buttons surgically implanted in his skull, recounted, "It's not a case of being tougher than anybody else... You never know how you're going to react until you come back and play again."

Only one player has died after being hit in the head. Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was hit by a pitch thrown by submarine pitcher and noted headhunter Carl Mays on August 16, 1920 at the Polo Grounds in New York. He died 12 hours later and is noted as the only player to have been killed by a pitch. The following spring, Chapman's teammates experimented with leather helmets similar to those being used by football players; that year's Spalding Guide declared, "There is nothing 'sissy' about it." Catcher Roger Bresnahan is cited as one of the first players to construct and wear a helmet, in 1907.

Starting in 1956, Major League Baseball required that all batters either wear batting helmets or protective plastic liners underneath their caps. Full helmets were made mandatory in 1971, and wearing a model with an earflap has been required since 1983. Minor leaguers (as well as most college, high school, and youth leagues) must wear helmets with a flap covering each ear.

A pitcher who is known for a habit of purposely throwing at opposing batters' heads is called a headhunter.

Further reading

  • Sowell, Mike (1989). The Pitch That Killed. ISBN 9781493017232.

External links

  • The dictionary definition of beanball at Wiktionary

References

  1. ^ "bean - Origin and meaning of bean by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com.
  2. ^ Romero, Dennis (2019-02-01). "The worst slur for Mexican-Americans is still a mystery for some". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
Breaking ball

In baseball, a breaking ball is a pitch that does not travel straight as it approaches the batter; it will have sideways or downward motion on it, sometimes both (see slider). A breaking ball is not a specific pitch by that name, but is any pitch that "breaks", such as a curveball, slider, or slurve. A pitcher who primarily uses breaking ball pitches is often referred to as a junkballer.

A breaking ball is more difficult than a straight pitch for a catcher to receive as breaking pitches sometimes hit the ground (whether intentionally, or not) before making it to the plate. A curveball moves down and to the left for a right handed pitcher. For a left hand pitcher, it moves down and to the right. And blocking a breaking ball requires thought and preparation by the catcher. The pitcher then, must have confidence in the catcher, and the catcher in himself, to block any ball in the dirt; if there are runners on base, they will likely advance if the ball gets away from the catcher. (Whether the pitcher is right- or left-handed will dictate which direction the catcher must turn his body to adjust for the spin of an upcoming breaking ball. This necessary movement may reveal the next intended pitch to the batter; therefore an experienced catcher must fake or mask his intentions when preparing for the pitch.)

If a breaking ball fails to break, it is called a "hanging" breaking ball, or specifically, a "hanging" curve. The "hanger" presents a high, slow pitch that is easy for the batter to see, and often results in an extra-base hit or a home run.

Don Mattingly wrote in Don Mattingly's Hitting Is Simple: The ABC's of Batting .300 that "hitting a breaking ball is one of the toughest things you'll have to learn" due to the ball's very brief window in the strike zone.

Brushback pitch

In baseball, a brushback pitch is a pitch–usually a fastball–thrown high and inside the strike zone to intimidate the batter away from the plate on subsequent pitches. It differs from the beanball in that the intent is not to hit the batter, nor does it target the batter's head. Hitters will often crowd the plate in order to have a better swing at pitches on the outside half of the plate. The hitters hope that the pitcher will be scared to throw inside because they might hit the batter. The brushback helps a pitcher to "reclaim" the corners of the strike zone by forcing the batter to stand farther away.

Play-by-play announcers sometimes call a high brushback pitch as being "high and tight." It is also referred to as chin music.

While the brushback can be an effective part of pitching, the home plate umpire may warn or eject a pitcher he feels is intentionally trying to hit a batter.

Carl Mays

Carl William Mays (November 12, 1891 – April 4, 1971) was a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1915 to 1929. Although he won over 200 games, 27 in 1921 alone, and was a member of four world championship teams, Mays is primarily remembered for throwing the beanball that killed Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians on August 16, 1920. Chapman became the only Major League player to die as a direct result of an on-field injury.

Cass Michaels

Cass Michaels (Casimir Eugene Kwietniewski; March 4, 1926 – November 12, 1982) was a Major League Baseball infielder. He joined the Chicago White Sox at just seventeen years old, and played twelve seasons in the majors until a beanball ended his career at just 28 years old.

Cut fastball

In baseball, a cut fastball or cutter is a type of fastball that breaks toward the pitcher's glove-hand side, as it reaches home plate. This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a two-seam fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more motion than a typical fastball. Some pitchers use a cutter to prevent hitters from expecting their regular fastballs. A common technique for throwing a cutter is to use a two-seam fastball grip with the baseball set slightly off center in the hand. A batter hitting a cutter pitch often achieves only soft contact and an easy out due to the pitch's movement keeping the ball away from the bat's sweet spot. The cutter is typically 2–5 mph slower than a pitcher's two-seam fastball. In 2010, the average pitch classified as a cutter by PITCHf/x thrown by a right-handed pitcher was 88.6 mph; the average two-seamer was 90.97 mph.

Frank Wickware

Frank Wickware (March 8, 1888 in Coffeyville, Kansas – November 2, 1967 in Schenectady, New York) was a baseball pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1909 to 1925.

In a nationally syndicated article written in 1915, it was said that Wickware "is another negro pitcher who would rank with the Walter Johnsons, Joe Woods or Grover Alexanders if he were a white man." In the previous year, another article announced Wickware was striking out an average of 11 players per game, and in two games in a row struck out 34 batters.Wickware's signature pitch seems to be a curveball that appeared to be a beanball, but "his control is so perfect" that it was said he never "hit a batter in the head." But batters would jump away from the plate, only to have his curveball arch into place over the plate.His first wife Dottie traveled with the team. However, Wickware married again, Elizabeth McCann on May 18, 1915 in Chicago. His new wife followed him on a trip to California that year.Wickware registered for the WWI Draft at the age of 29. He lists his birthplace as Girard, Kansas. And he lists his current address as 3450 Wabash in Chicago, Illinois. Wickware lists his occupation as base ball player, working for the American Giants of Chicago. He is listed as married and claims his wife and mother as dependents.At age 64, Wickware received votes listing him on the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier player-voted poll of the Negro Leagues' best players ever.

Glossary of English-language idioms derived from baseball

This is an alphabetical list of common English-language idioms based on baseball, excluding the extended metaphor referring to sex, and including illustrative examples for each entry. Particularly American English has been enriched by expressions derived from the game of baseball.

See also the Glossary of baseball for the jargon of the game itself, as used by participants, fans, reporters, announcers, and analysts of the game.

Gordon Cobbledick

Gordon Russell Cobbledick (December 31, 1898 – October 2, 1969), was an American sports journalist and author in Cleveland. He was the sports editor of The Plain Dealer for many years, and posthumously received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Hit by pitch

In baseball, hit by pitch (HBP) is an event in which a batter or his clothing or equipment (other than his bat) is struck directly by a pitch from the pitcher; the batter is called a hit batsman (HB). A hit batsman is awarded first base, provided that (in the plate umpire's judgment) he made an honest effort to avoid the pitch, although failure to do so is rarely called by an umpire. Being hit by a pitch is often caused by a batter standing too close to, or "crowding", home plate.

Ken Tatum

Kenneth Ray Tatum (born April 25, 1944) is an American retired professional baseball player. A right-handed relief pitcher, he appeared in 176 games pitched (all but two in a bullpen role) over six seasons (1969–74) for the California Angels, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball. The native of Alexandria, Louisiana, attended Mississippi State University. He was listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 205 pounds (93 kg).

List of fictional sports teams

This is a list of fictional sports teams, athletic groups that have been identified by name in works of fiction but do not really exist as such. Teams have been organized by the sport they participate in, followed by the media product they appear in. Specific television episodes are noted when available.

Marion Fricano

Marion John Fricano (July 15, 1923 – May 18, 1976) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher. He is likely remembered as the guy who ended Cass Michaels' career with a beanball on August 27, 1954.

Mike Jorgensen

Michael Jorgensen (born August 16, 1948) is an American former professional baseball first baseman and outfielder who currently works in the St. Louis Cardinals' front office. The New York Mets drafted him in the fourth round of the 1966 Major League Baseball Draft. In a 17-year Major League Baseball (MLB) playing career spanning from 1968 to 1985, he played primarily with the Mets and Montreal Expos and had brief stints with the Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics. He also has served as a manager for the Cardinals.

Pitch (TV series)

Pitch is an American drama television series that aired on Fox from September 22 to December 8, 2016. The series was commissioned on May 10, 2016.On May 1, 2017, the series was canceled after one season.

Pitch (baseball)

In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed until 1884.

The biomechanics of pitching have been studied extensively. The phases of throwing include windup, early cocking, late cocking, early acceleration, late acceleration, deceleration, and follow-through.Pitchers throw a variety of pitches, each of which has a slightly different velocity, trajectory, movement, hand position, wrist position and/or arm angle. These variations are introduced to confuse the batter in various ways, and ultimately aid the defensive team in getting the batter or baserunners out. To obtain variety, and therefore enhance defensive baseball strategy, the pitcher manipulates the grip on the ball at the point of release. Variations in the grip cause the seams to "catch" the air differently, thereby changing the trajectory of the ball, making it harder for the batter to hit.

The selection of which pitch to use can depend on a wide variety of factors including the type of hitter who is being faced; whether there are any base runners; how many outs have been made in the inning; and the current score.

Screwball

A screwball is a baseball and fastpitch softball pitch that is thrown so as to break in the opposite direction of a slider or curveball. Depending on the pitcher's arm angle, the ball may also have a sinking action.

Carl Hubbell was one of the most renowned screwball pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball. Hubbell was known as the "scroogie king" for his mastery of the pitch and the frequency with which he threw it. Other famous screwball artists include Tug McGraw and Cy Young Award winners Mike Cuellar, Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Marshall, and Willie Hernández.

Slider

In baseball, a slider is a breaking ball pitch that tails laterally and down through the batter's hitting zone; it is thrown with less speed than a fastball but greater than the pitcher's curveball.

The break on the pitch is shorter than that of the curveball, and the release technique is 'between' those of a curveball and a fastball. The slider is similar to the cutter, a fastball pitch, but is more of a breaking ball than the cutter. The slider is also known as a yakker or a snapper.

Spitball

A spitball is an illegal baseball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance.

This technique alters the wind resistance and weight on one side of the ball, causing it to move in an atypical manner. It may also cause the ball to "slip" out of the pitcher's fingers without the usual spin that accompanies a pitch. In this sense, a spitball can be thought of as a fastball with knuckleball action.

Alternative names for the spitball are spitter, mud ball, shine ball, supersinker, vaseline ball (because originally, Vaseline was used to give the ball a little more break), and emery ball. Note that a spitball technically differs from a standard emery ball, in which the surface of the ball is cut or abraded.

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