arm action


Two great pitchers slightly different arm action; of the two, who has the better arm action and why; Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens?


i think the answer is neither. they both have arm actions that work for them. kind of like trucks, some guys drive fords, some guys drive chevys. they both get down the road. both these guys threw very well for a very long time. both should be in the hall of fame. they pass my effective mechanics test.


Reminds me of the time when Bob Feller was once asked which batter he found it tougher to pitch to, Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. His response was "One bats lefthanded, the other bats righthanded, so how can one pitcher compare them unless he’s ambidextrous?"
Every pitcher has his own arm angle, his own arm motion, his own arm speed, and if it works for him, great. There is no such thing as one way of doing things being better than another. There is such a thing as being consistent in how one does it. Ever see one of those pitchers who can’t seem to make up their minds how they want to throw? I have. Poor fish, they throw a fast ball one way and a curve ball another way, and all too often they telegraph their pitches, and the batters learn to set themselves for the pitch they want.
I remember when Whitey Ford first came up to the Yankees in 1950. He started a game—and the opposition lambasted him from here to Timbuktu and back, with every pitch he threw being converted into line-drive base hits. In the fifth inning Tommy Henrich, who was playing first base, came running out to the mound and said to Whitey, “That first-base coach is calling every pitch you’re throwing!” And Ford suddenly realized that he might be telegraphing his pitches. The next day pitching coach Jim Turner and fellow pitcher Ed Lopat took Ford into the bullpen and had him throw from the stretch. Turner was puzzled and kept scratching his head—but Lopat, who had been watching Ford the day before with a sardonic smile on his face, spotted the problem immediately. It seems that Whitey had been positioning his hand one way for a fast ball and another way for a curve, and because he was a southpaw it was no problem for the first-base coach to pick up on that and relay the information to the batter.
So Lopat showed Ford how to correct the problem—and how to be more consistent in his delivery, how to throw everything with the same motion and the same arm speed. Q.E.D. 8)


I am going to have to disagree. Overall Clemens mechanics are much more compact (including arm action) which allowed him to be much more consistent. Oh, and by the way, he still threw heat.
Compare stats: Clemens had 90+ walks three times in his career, only topping 100 once (106 in 1996). Ryan on the other hand, has a 162 game average of 120, and topped 150 walks 5 times, including topping 200 walks
Clemens arm and body are much more in control allowing him to hit spots and still throw hard.
Don’t get me wrong, Ryan was a ridiculously amazing pitcher. Too me, Ryan was more deceptive and overpowering, but his arm and mechanics were a bit of a mess. (All over the place) Unless, you are obsessed with the strikeout, Clemens is the clear choice.


I was way too harsh when I said Ryan’s mechanics were a mess! I actually love the low finish and the explosiveness. I just prefer to teach pitchers who hit spots as oppose to those who rely on the arm alone. No need to slam me for that comment. I realize it was stupid.


The answer to your question is…IT’S A TIE. Just like it’s a tie between Maddux and Gibson and Sever and Carlton and etc. You’re job as a pitcher is to get people out and anyone who does that with the efficiency AND longevity of these guys has perfect mechanics for them. The only way mechanics that get people out can be considered bad is if it puts them at risk for injury (hence the longevity qualifier). If all of these guys followed one approach then there’s a chance none of them would have been hall of famers. You can argue who was the better pitcher, but at this level, mechanics are not even a consideration. Following a cookie cutter approach has robbed tons of kids in this country of their innate athletic ability.


Well there are some Ryan fans on the site :? :wink: …What refreshing humility…but you do have the right to an opinion…and you backed it with some compelling stats. Nolan was a high kicker, The Rocket had a more traditional or schooled in modern mechanics delivery…he really does look like the artificial model I see tossed out there.
I like to think we are all human…if Ryan was as mechanically sound and accurate with movement like Maddux…it would have forced another Bob Gibson moment and they would have had to come up with special Nolan Ryan rules…he simply would have passed Cy Young in wins…but because of that human factor…Nolan was just one of many greats. I mean Gibsons mechs would have made wannabes all over the net say he was the poster child for “bad” mechs…and never never throw like him…but he was demonstratably the greatest pitcher ever for 2 or 3 years…and one of the very best for more than a decade. It’s one of the things I love about pitching…Bob Feller was a skinny 17 yr old from Iowa, David Wells a fat beer suckin Cy Young award winner who had a penchant for No-no’s…anyone with a spirit and desire can get there and we got more flavors than the whole Johnson family (Bad “Blazing Saddles” reference :smiley: ).


Note to rhermus10: You said, and I quote, that you “prefer to teach pitchers who hit their spots…” You’re on the right track. There are too many pitchers who rely on the arm alone when they should be using the whole body, and it’s those pitchers who all too often end up on the disabled list with sore arms, sore elbows, sore this and sore that. When I was playing, way back when, I learned what I consider one of the key elements of good mechanics—how to drive off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in one continuous motion, and that was how I got the power behind my pitches. I wasn’t a fireballer by any stretch of the imagination—I was a snake-jazzer, lots of good breaking stuff and the control and command to go with it—but using my whole body in this way not only enabled me to throw harder but also took the pressure off the arm and the shoulder, and as a result I never had to contend with arm and shoulder ailments. 8) :slight_smile: