I was one of those “snake jazzers”, many moons ago—a finesse pitcher, not much on speed, but with control, command and an ever-expanding repertoire of good breaking stuff. My best pitch was a slider which I nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” (after a character in an old W.C. Fields movie) because that was exactly what it was, with a sharp late break; and being a sidearmer I used the crossfire extensively—this is a beautiful and deadly move which works only with the sidearm delivery—which gave me three times as many pitches as I had. My second-best pitch was a very good knuckle-curve, and I also had a whole closetful of changeups. The fact is, if you can’t overpower the hitters you have to outthink and outfox them, which was what I did.
It didn’t hurt one bit that I had a pitching coach who was one of the finest anyone could ever hope to work with—Ed Lopat, who was a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Big Three pitching rotation and an extra pitching coach for the Yankees during his tenure with them. He was one of the greatest strategic pitchers in the history of the game, and he shared his knowledge and expertise with me, and what I learned from him was nothing short of priceless. So I’m telling you—if you don’t have the velocity (and I do think it’s rather overrated), you can get on very well with several good breaking pitches. You’re a sidearmer, right? Have you ever tried the crossfire? You should.
And a lot of pitchers who were even slower than you have been very successful in the majors—you did name a few. So go to it! 8)