I am throwing the sidearm curve cross seam, like a two seam fastball with my thumb under my index finger on a seam so when I throw the curve sidearm, the thumb is on top. Anybody have a better grip than this? My normal arm slot is high sidearm/ low 3/4. Also, any one ever throw the screwball sidearm. Don’t worry, I’m 48 yrs old and my arm is already shot.
From one old sidearmer to another: Welcome!
When I was eleven years old, many many moons ago, I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery—and what came attached to it was a nice little curve ball. I figured, well, I’ve got this curve ball, let me see what I can do with it. I worked around with it, learned to change speeds (a fireballer I was not and would never be). and acquired a palm ball and a knuckle-curve into the bargain. I used a pretty standard grip—which way the seams went didn’t really matter—and I threw that baby with a sharp karate-chop wrist snap. I picked up a very good crossfire move (I am, and was, righthanded), and oh, what fun it was to see the batters get very badly discombobulated by it!
A few years later, as a result of my curiosity about the slider, I met a guy who threw a very good one—Ed Lopat, one of the key members of the Yankees’ legendary Big Three rotation of the late 40s to mid-50s—and he became my pitching coach. For almost four years we worked together, he taught me how to throw a very good slider, he helped me refine some of my moves, taught me a lot of advanced stuff he felt I needed to know, and helped me become a more effective pitcher. For this I will always remember him.
I never threw the screwball, although I knew how to do it. One day Lopat(who did throw it, though not exclusively) asked me if I ever did, and I told him no, and he said: “Good for you. You don’t need it.” I’m not surprised that you screwed up your arm, no pun intended, because that pitch is harder on the arm than anything else. You may remember Carl Hubbell—he threw that pitch all the time, and it did indeed screw up his arm; when he would stand with his arms at his sides the palm of his left hand faced out!
For the knuckle-curve, which I discovered quite by accident (I think Mike Mussina picked his up the same way), I would use any of several different knuckleball grips—two-finger, three-finger, a little off-center at times—and I just threw it as I would my curve ball. Interesting, how that pitch would move—it would come in there looking for all the world like my (nonexistent) fast ball and just drop like a glass hitting the floor, and when I crossfired it it would break to one side or the other. Nice pitch. It became my #2 pitch—#1 was that slider, which I nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” after a character in an old W.C. Fields movie because that was exactly what that pitch was. And that pitch, when thrown correctly, is easier on the arm and the shoulder than just about any other. 8)
I usually throw a hard sinker for all fastballs. My slider is good and I throw a forkball. I threw the javlin for several years and my arm doesn’t straighten all the way. If I throw over the top, I have a natural cutter, but I can really “pull” the ball like you would a javelin and throw a four seamer in the mid 80’s with quite a bit of elbow pain. So I dropped the arm angle instead and throw the sinker in the high 70’s. My slider is around 75 and my forkball about 65.
Hopefully you have a King Kong-sized paw—the forkball is one pitch that puts a terrible strain on the hand, arm and shoulder. The split-finger pitch is easier to throw because the grip is somewhat different. With the forkball you actually grip the ball between the index and middle fingers, whereas for the splitter you just grip the ball so the fingers are off the seams. Jose Contreras throws both these pitches, by the way. 8)
My hands are bigger than average. I tried the splitter, while the splitter may drop 6-8 inches, my forkball dropps on the average 2-3 feet. Since I play amatuer ball in a 8 team league, I may only see a team once until the district tourny and since all the teams aren’t in our district either, I may see a team once a season since we only play about 20 games a year usually end of May intil the districts at the end of July and the state tourny in August. So the forkball is rather shocking to try to hit with two strikes when it’s dropping from above the waist to the ankles. One note, I pronate on the forkball and some of them have no rotation. Also, there are some real good videos on You Tube of Forkball and splitters being thrown in the Japenese league games, real dirty stuff. One has TNT by AC/DC as background music and the other has Born To Raise Hell by Motorhead. I talked to an exercise physiologist who gave me some flexibility exercises to do for the elbow, shoulder and wrist. No problems yet.
Tilt your spine / shoulders when you do it, thus keeping your arm angle the same.