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01-06-2009 11:50 PM #1
Whatever happened to the Forkball?
Growing up in the early eighties I remember the big deal was pitchers throwing the Forkball. I remember Clemens and Mike Boddicker some of the early users of the pitch. Jack Morris also. Doesnt seem like anyone on the Orioles throws the pitch at all. Am I wrong? Any player in the league well know for throwing it?
I seem to remember something about the pitch being rather hard on a pitchers arm. Any of this true?
I would think some of these fringy guys would risk injury and learn how to throw this devistaing pitch.
Last edited by Gurgi; 01-06-2009 at 11:53 PM.
01-06-2009 11:57 PM #2
From the Wikipedia article on the forkball
The forkball is favored by several major league pitchers, including Hideo Nomo, José Contreras, Chien-Ming Wang and Edwar Ramirez. In addition, a number of NPB players throw forkballs, including Kazumi Saitoh of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks who has ridden his forkball to two Sawamura Awards.
... The forkball is known to be a cause of damage to the shoulder and elbow. Famous forkballers, particularly Japanese players, have often required surgery to remove bone fractures or to repair damaged tendons, sometimes several times in their careers. One such pitcher was former Yokohama BayStars and Seattle Mariners closer Kazuhiro Sasaki who, according to one fan, "practically had to have bone chips removed from his elbow every year."
01-06-2009 11:59 PM #3
01-07-2009 12:01 AM #4
01-07-2009 12:12 AM #5
Speaking of the devil. Someone posted in another thread that the new Japanese player we got Uehara throws the forkball. So I guess I will get to see the pitch this year afterall. Funny.
01-07-2009 12:17 AM #6
I used to have one of those "pitch-grip" baseballs, with marks for three pitches: four-seam fastball, curveball, and forkball.
So, it's still hanging around.
01-07-2009 01:29 AM #7
I also wondered if someone had gotten Uehara confused with Saitoh, because of these two comments.
From the Wikipedia article I posted above:
... a number of NPB players throw forkballs, including Kazumi Saitoh of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks who has ridden his forkball to two Sawamura Awards
A two-time winner of the Sawamura Award as Japan's best starting pitcher,.... Uehara’s repertoire includes an 88-90 mph fastball, a nice cutter, two kinds of forkball,...
01-07-2009 11:38 AM #8
01-07-2009 11:47 AM #9
Last edited by TyCobb; 01-07-2009 at 11:50 AM.
01-07-2009 12:15 PM #10
A split-finger fastball is gripped like a fastball with the index and middle fingers spread out a bit. It's thrown just like a fastball, but the grip imparts less backspin than a fastball (and more than a forkball). It'll dip from the lack of lift from less spin, but it's a different thing from a forkball. This is the pitch Bruce Sutter kind of pioneered.
01-07-2009 12:26 PM #11
The splitter is suppose to tumble like a knuckleball. What you are describing to me is a sinker. Other than being slower than a splitter, I don't see a difference.
01-07-2009 12:29 PM #12
01-07-2009 12:46 PM #13
A forkball is supposed to tumble, a splitfingered fastball (or what I call a splitter) has more backspin. It's all in the grip. Forkball has the ball jammed in between two fingers, splitter is thrown just like a fastball except the two fingers a spread slightly.
01-07-2009 12:53 PM #14
01-07-2009 01:18 PM #15
I was playing around on Google and found this quote from Doug Thorburn, from something called the National Pitching Association:
Everything about a split-finger delivery is the same as a regular fastball, aside from the grip. The only difference is the physical split of the fingers, and it is true that players with small hands will feel pain in those fingers if they attempt to stretch too far, and get an extremely wide grip. A wide grip is not necessary to throw a split-finger, and what most kids try to find is actually a forkball grip. Forkballs are great if you’re Bob Welch or Jose Contreras, but not so great if your hands are still growing and can’t yet hold a baseball properly.