Pitching machine

A pitching machine is a machine that automatically pitches a baseball to a batter at different speeds and styles. Most machines are hand-fed, but there are some that automatically feed. There are multiple types of pitching machines; softball, baseball, youth, adult, and a combination of both softball and baseball.

Pitching machine
A hand-fed pitching machine


In 1897, mathematics instructor Charles Hinton designed a gunpowder-powered baseball pitching machine for the Princeton University baseball team's batting practice.[1] According to one source it caused several injuries, and may have been in part responsible for Hinton's dismissal from Princeton that year.[2] However, the machine was versatile: it was capable of throwing variable speeds with an adjustable breech size and firing curve balls by the use of two rubber-coated steel fingers at the muzzle of the pitcher.[3] Hinton successfully introduced the machine to the University of Minnesota where he worked as an assistant professor until 1900.

The arm-type pitching machine was designed by Paul Giovagnoli in 1952, for use on his driving range. Using a metal arm mounted to a large gear, this type of machine simulates the motion of an actual pitcher, throwing balls with consistent speed and direction. One- and two-wheel style machines were originally patented by Bartley N. Marty in 1916. [4] [5]


Pitching machines come in a variety of styles. However, the two most popular machines are an arm action machine and a circular wheel machine. The arm action machine simulates the delivery of a pitcher and carries a ball at the end of a bracket, much like a hand would. The arm action machine then delivers the ball in an overhand motion. The circular wheel machine contains one, two or three wheels that spin much like a bike tire. The wheels on these machines are usually set in either a horizontal or vertical fashion. With a circular machine, a ball shoots out towards the hitter after it is fed into the wheel or wheels. Three-wheel machines are more easily adjusted to be able to throw a variety of pitches and they can be used for a wide range of other practice scenarios, such as ground work or flyballs.

The use of pitching machines allows baseball and softball players the opportunity to get batting practice on their own. Most batting machines are set up in a batting cage, a netted area that will contain the balls after they are hit. By using a pitching machine and a batting cage, hitters can get a huge number of batting reps without having to drag other players out to a baseball field or wear out the arms of team pitchers or coaches. The cost of pitching machines varies greatly.

Use in Little League

In the youngest divisions of Little League, and other youth baseball organizations, pitching machines are used instead of live pitching. This is done to give the kids more experience hitting the ball, as pitchers at that age would tend to throw few strikes. Simple spring-loaded manual models are common (such as from Louisville Slugger) as are battery-powered compressed-air machines (such as from Zooka).


  1. ^ Hinton, Charles, "A Mechanical Pitcher", Harper's Weekly, March 20, 1897, p. 301–302
  2. ^ Physics in Higher-Dimensional Manifolds bottom page 5
  3. ^ Hinton, Charles, "The Motion of a Baseball", The Yearbook of the Minneapolis Society of Engineers, May 1908, p. 18–28
  4. ^ US Patent 1211738[1]
  5. ^ US Patent 1204468[2]
Artie Lange's Beer League

Artie Lange's Beer League (also known simply as Beer League) is a 2006 American comedy film written, produced, and starring Artie Lange. It was released in select theaters on September 15, 2006 in the New Jersey, New York, Cleveland, and Philadelphia areas. The DVD was released on January 2, 2007.

Baseball robot

A baseball batting robot is a robot that can hit a pitched ball, like a human baseball player would.

Several engineers have independently attempted to build one.

Frank Barnes alias Robocross has built a robot called The Headless Batter which can hit balls pitched at high speeds by a baseball pitching machine [1]. This semi-android robot performs the same actions - hips swivel, the shoulders drop and the arms extend - as a human batter.

Hiroshima University associate professor Idaku Ishii has developed a robot able to hit a pitch coming at speeds up to 300 kilometers per hour [2].

Researchers Masatoshi Ishikawa and colleagues at Tokyo University have developed a baseball batting robot that works for balls thrown to it at slower speeds, but with much greater accuracy. It can bat the balls into a basket at a desired location [3].

Batting cage

A batting cage (or tunnel) is an enclosed area for baseball or softball players to practice the skill of batting.

The optimal material for batting cages is netting, and they are typically rectangular in shape. Chain-link fence is not required but can be useful to enclose the netting to prevent vandalism. However, this material is not suitable for the primary impact layer because it will warp the fencing and damage balls. The ideal netting for a batting cage is either diamond- or square-shaped. Both types of netting have their advantages and disadvantages.


"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). 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.

Deaths in December 2004

The following is a list of notable deaths in December 2004.

Entries for each day are listed alphabetically by surname. A typical entry lists information in the following sequence:

Name, age, country of citizenship at birth, subsequent country of citizenship (if applicable), reason for notability, cause of death (if known), and reference.

Doug Drabek

Douglas Dean Drabek (born July 25, 1962) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher and current Pitching Coach for the Jackson Generals. He played for the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles between 1986 and 1998. Drabek batted and threw right-handed. He is the pitching coach for the Double A Jackson Generals. Known for his fluid pitching motion and sound mechanics, he won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990.

Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium

Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium is a baseball stadium in South Bend, Indiana, home to the South Bend Cubs, a minor league baseball team which plays in the Class-A Midwest League. The stadium opened in 1987, and its open concourse is considered the template for many later minor league ball parks built in the 1990s. It has a capacity of 5,000 spectators.

The park is named for Stan Coveleski, the hall of fame pitcher who once lived in South Bend. It is colloquially known as "The Cove".

Coveleski Stadium is located on South Street in downtown South Bend.

Hitting for the cycle

In baseball, hitting for the cycle is the accomplishment of one batter hitting a single, a double, a triple, and a home run in the same game. Collecting the hits in that order is known as a "natural cycle". Cycles are semi-rare in Major League Baseball (MLB), having occurred only 327 times, starting with Curry Foley in 1882. The most recent example was accomplished by Jake Bauers of the Cleveland Indians on June 14, 2019, against the Detroit Tigers. The Miami Marlins are the only current MLB franchise who have never had a player hit for the cycle.

John Murray Field

John Murray Field is home to Redlands Baseball Club in Sheldon, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is a fully fenced and regulation size field with field level fenced dugouts, 2 bullpens, 2 indoor battery cages with an automated pitching machine, an air-conditioned scorers box. Floodlighting is of AAA standard and has hosted trial games for various countries including the Netherlands, Italy and United States.

Opposite to John Murray Field is the Tony Street Field which serves as a playing field for juniors and minor league senior teams as well as a warm up and training field.

Redlands has hosted the Claxton Shield 2008 for the Queensland Rams and will host three Claxton Shield 2009 games.

Keisha (actress)

Keisha (born October 25, 1966) is the stage name of an American erotic dancer and retired pornographic actress. She is an AVN and XRCO Hall of Fame inductee.

Lorenzo Ponza

Lorenzo "Larry" J. Ponza Jr. (February 15, 1918 – December 15, 2004) was the inventor of the modern baseball pitching machine.

He grew up in the Santa Cruz area of California near a sawmill which was operated by his parents. He graduated from high school in 1934 and, according to him, continued his education in the "School of Hard Knocks and Experience". In 1941 he moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and worked as a senior civilian supervisor for the US Navy's production control office.

His first pitching machine, the Power Pitcher, was invented in 1952. He followed this up with many improvements, including the 1974 Hummer, which could simulate fastballs, pop-ups and grounders, the Casey (1983), the Ponza Swing King (1987) and the Rookie (1988). He sold his company to the Athletic Training Equipment Company in the early 1990s.

He died at age 86 from a cancer-related illness. In Argentina, a popular online newspaper, Telégrafo del Sur, published a comic called "The news adventures of Lorenzo Ponza" in honor of him.

Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics, often referred to as the A's, are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. The team plays its home games at the RingCentral Coliseum. They have won nine World Series championships, tied for the third-most of all current MLB teams. The 2017 season was the club's 50th while based in Oakland.

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the team was founded in Philadelphia in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. They won three World Series championships from 1910 to 1913 and back-to-back titles in 1929 and 1930. The team's owner and manager for its first 50 years was Connie Mack and Hall of Fame players included Chief Bender, Frank "Home Run" Baker, Jimmie Foxx, and Lefty Grove. The team left Philadelphia for Kansas City in 1955 and became the Kansas City Athletics before moving to Oakland in 1968. They won three consecutive World Championships between 1972 and 1974, led by players including Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, ace reliever Rollie Fingers, and colorful owner Charlie O. Finley. After being sold by Finley to Walter A. Haas Jr., the team won three consecutive pennants and the 1989 World Series behind the "Bash Brothers", Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, as well as Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson and manager Tony La Russa.

From 1901 to 2018, the Athletics' overall win–loss record is 8,931–9,387 (.488).

Pine Hills Lightning

The Pine Hills Lightning Baseball Club is a baseball club that participates in the Greater Brisbane League competition and Brisbane Metropolitan Region competition. It is the 4th largest baseball club in Australia and second largest after the Redcliffe Padres in Queensland.


In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.

Traditionally, the pitcher also bats. Starting in 1973 with the American League and spreading to further leagues throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the hitting duties of the pitcher have generally been given over to the position of designated hitter, a cause of some controversy. The National League in Major League Baseball and the Japanese Central League are among the remaining leagues that have not adopted the designated hitter position.

Survival Research Laboratories

Survival Research Laboratories (SRL) is a machine performance art group credited for pioneering the genre of large-scale machine performance. After about 30 years in San Francisco, California, SRL spent most of 2008 moving to Petaluma, California.Since its inception in 1978 SRL has operated as an organization of creative technicians and technical creatives dedicated to re-directing the techniques, tools, and tenets of industry, science, and the military away from their typical manifestations in practicality, product or warfare. Since 1979, SRL has staged over 50 mechanized presentations in the United States and Europe. Each performance consists of a unique set of ritualized interactions between machines, robots, and special-effects devices, employed in developing themes of socio-political satire. Humans are present only as audience or operators.

Switch hitter

In baseball, a switch hitter is a player who bats both right-handed and left-handed, usually right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers.

Ted Kennedy (baseball)

Theodore A. Kennedy (February 7, 1865 in Henry, Illinois – October 28, 1907 in St. Louis, Missouri), Ted was a professional baseball player who played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1885-1886. He would play for the Louisville Colonels, Philadelphia Athletics, and Chicago White Stockings. Inventor of the baseball catcher's mitt, he sold his patents to the A.G. Spalding Company and opened a baseball school, specializing in teaching the curveball, and also manufactured sporting goods - specifically baseball gloves and catcher’s mitts. He also invented a pitching machine and was developing the first electric scoreboard at the time of his death.

Married to Regina. They had four children: Fannie (1887), Mabel (1889), Herbert (1891) and Viola (1896).

In 1976, Kennedy’s grandson (Viola's son), Dick Metzger, donated his grandfather’s collection of memorable to the Baseball Hall of Fame library. The Ted Kennedy Collection includes: Two scrapbooks of lessons, which are hand drawn, handwritten and typed; his glove patterns, with each piece cut out, ready to be assembled; flyers, brochures and articles with playing instructions to pitchers and players; and how to order a glove through the mail. Another donation of memorabilia was donated to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Mo.

Williamsport Grays

The Williamsport Grays were a minor league baseball based in Williamsport periodically between 1924 and 1962. The club was first established in 1923, however it did not adopt a formal name. Rather the name, Williamsport Billies, was used by the local media when referring to the team in Williamsport. Other names found in local papers included the Bald Eagles, Hinchmanites, and even the Bills, a name adopted by the Eastern League clubs of the 1980s. The Billies played their games at Williamsport High School athletic fields, now on the campus of the Pennsylvania College of Technology They team later played all their home games in Bowman Field which is currently the home of the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York–Penn League.

The Billies' name was changed to the Williamsport Grays for the 1924 season, a name that stuck with many of the organizations in Williamsport throughout much of the 20th century.In 1953, the club was referred to as the Williamsport A's or Williamsport Athletics a Class AA affiliate of the Philadelphia Athletics. The Athletics names lasted for just the 1953 season. The franchise was purchased at the end of the 1952 season by five anonymous businessmen from the Detroit Tigers. The ownership group moved to establish a working arrangement with the Philadelphia A's owned by Connie Mack.From 1947–1949 and again in 1951–1952, The team was named the Williamsport Tigers were a AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. Detroit had a working relationship with Williamsport from 1946 until 1952.

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