Four-seam fastball/fosh change-up

Dear Coach Ellis,

I noticed in your section on “Free Grips” you describe holding the four-seam fastball in the following manner (the traditional way) - “To grip the pitch, place your index- and middle-finger pads directly on the perpendicular seam of the baseball with the “horseshoe seam” facing into the ring finger of the throwing hand”.

I was wondering - do you think it makes a difference having the seam facing into the ring finger or could it be in the direction of the index finger (non-traditional grip)? I know that Don Gullet has said that it is personal preference which direction the bottom (closed portion) of the horseshoe faces. Also, Tom Glavine has demonstrated his four-seam fastball grip with the horseshoe seam facing the index finger.

But what are your thoughts on this?

The other reason I was asking about holding the four-seam in the “non-traditional” grip, is that I was showing some youngsters the fosh change-up and with the horseshoe facing the direction of the index finger, the index finger crosses two seams. By throwing the fosh with that grip I figured there would be more friction on the baseball as well as the potential for more movement

Thank-you very much for your time. I await your response.


Makes no difference at all. It’s really just an individual feel thing in terms of how you should grip the 4-seam fastball. I was taught and preferred the horseshoe in, but others may like it out. In terms of the amount of rotations the pitch has to the plate (which is why the pitch get’s to the plate the fastest) it’s the same whether the horseshoe’s in or out.

[size=18]Thank-you for your response. I thought that this was probably the case. I have heard some say that the traditional grip gives more of a rise to the ball. I wondered if there was anything to that.

I wanted to be sure that when you said the “horseshoe in” for the grip you used - were you talking the open end of the horseshoe pointing toward your index finger or the closed portion (the seam) of the horseshoe facing the index finger??[/size]

[size=18]Thank-you for your time; I don’t mean to belabor the point.