Well I have three different grips, in which they all move differently. The first one is more of a slurve I think but it goes some what straight, then breaks diagonally like a slider should. The second is the same but more straight and breaks later, but not as much break. And the third is almost a sinker, just it breaks at like a 15-30 degree angle and breaks a lot. Which one should I use? Or should I use all of them and when?
When I learned to throw the slider, my pitching coach—an active major league pitcher who threw a very good one—showed me the grip he used, and I picked up on that. The grip was very much off-center, with the index and middle fingers off the seams and very close together (and the middle finger just touching one seam) and the thumb underneath for support. He told me, “Throw it like a curve, but roll your wrist, don’t snap it”, and he demonstrated what looked rather like a chef flipping a pancake or a crepe. This is the true slider, and it has, not a big break, but a sharp late one.
The pitch you describe as being very like a sinker is probably just that—basically it’s a two-seam fast ball, and it works best when you can keep it down in the zone—you’ll get a lot of ground-ball outs that way. As for the one that you say comes straight in—that could be trouble, because that’s just the kind of pitch batters are looking for—down the middle or middle in, maybe a bit high, and they like nothing better than to get hold of one and blast it out of the ball park, across the street, into Aunt Minnie’s kitchen window and smack in the middle of her turkey or roast! You had best avoid that one unless you can get it down in the zone.
If you like to experiment with different grips for the pitch, try this one: you get a knuckleball grip—and there are several to choose from—and throw the slider with it. This is the “slip pitch”, which I learned from my pitching coach, and it’s guaranteed to have batters screaming blue murder, not to mention arson, first degree burglary, armed robbery, grand larceny breaking pitch and just about every other felony they can think of, because they can’t hit it for sour apples! 8) :baseballpitcher:
Well two of my grips sound the the off center one you describe. I throw it like a fastball but only hold the outer third of the ball and pretend to slice through it. It has good movement, bbut I kinda wanna know more about that “slip pitch” you were talking about.
The “slip pitch” has quite a story attached to it, and here it is.
It begins with Paul Rapier Richards, the “Wizard of Waxahachie”. He was a good catcher. He caught for the New York Giants, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Athletics in the mid-1930s, and then he went to the minor leagues. Then, in 1939 or thereabouts he surfaced in the AA Southern Association as the playing manager for the Atlanta Crackers, and here’s where the story really begins.
The Crackers had an old-timer on their pitching staff, a guy named Deacon Johnson who threw a bewildering breaking pitch that for want of a better name he called a “slip pitch”. Of course Richards wanted to know more about it, because after all he had to catch the darn thing—but Johnson was a selfish coot who wouldn’t even show it to his own manager! He wanted to keep that pitch his own little secret—and here the question arises: if he wanted to keep it a secret, why was he throwing it? Be that as it may, Richards had to content himself with observing the pitcher and making copious notes, and when he was sure he had it down cold he decided that if he ever made it to the majors as a manager he would teach that pitch to whoever wanted to learn it.
After a four-year detour—the Detroit Tigers had lost both their catchers to the armed forces and needed a catcher, so they tracked down Richards and signed him—he returned to the minors and managed a couple of teams, and then the White Sox called him at the end of the 1950 season; they wanted him to come up to the majors and manage them! He came up, and he brought that “slip pitch” with him and taught it to a couple of the pitchers, Harry Dorish and Skinny Brown who had a fair degree of success with it when they could get it to work. The sportswriters were falling all over themselves trying to find out what the pitch was—there was some speculation that it might be a variation of the palm ball—but nobody was talking, and so it was believed that this pitch would forever remain a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.
What nobody, least of all Richards, knew or even suspected that there was another pitcher who knew about it. He had been in the Southern Association at the same time as Deacon Johnson and had seen him throw it in games, and he had made a mental note of it for future reference. He quietly worked on that pitch, and in 1953, after the All-Star break, he broke the mystery wide open when he uncorked it much to the discomfiture of the rest of the American League. That pitcher was Ed Lopat, who had a reputation for adding a new pitch to his already burgeoning arsenal every year.
When I asked him what all the mystery was about the slip pitch, he burst out laughing and couldn’t stop, and I got caught up in the ensuing hilarity—then, when we were able to stop laughing, he said “I don’t get it. I just can’t understand what it is with these sportswriters, the way they come on, trying to make something arcane out of such a simple pitch.” And then he told me what it was. He said, “Get a knuckleball grip and throw the slider with it.” That’s what the pitch is—a hard slider thrown with a knuckleball grip, or a knuckleball thrown with the wrist action of the slider, take your pick, and the prerequisite is a good slider; if you cah throw it you can pick up that pitch.
I quickly added it to my arsenal, and you should have heard the guys on the other teams in the league I pitched in—they were screaming blue murder, not to mention arson, armed robbery, first-degree burglary, grand larceny breaking pitch and every other felony they could think of, because they couldn’t hit it for sour apples! That pitch has a very funny break to it—it’s hard to describe, but when you throw it sidearm it’s absolutely devastating. :baseballpitcher:
Thank you so much Zita, you are probably one of the best on this site. You definately would be one of the greatest pitching coaches ever. So the slip pitch grip is like this: get a knuckleball grip and throw a slider? im still kinda confused, do you keep your knuckles on it or do you put your fingers on the knuckle ball grip and throw it? And could you throw it like this: Put my knuckles on my slider grip (the one where I hold the outside third) and throw it like a slider. Or if you could please go into a little more detail, I have a hard time comprehending when i read, thats why I prefer videos.
I was researching some slip pitch grips and wsa wondering if you could throw it like a slider, but with a knuckle curve grip.
The term “knuckleball” is actually a misnomer, because you grip it and its variations not with the knuckles but with the fingertips and sometimes the fingernails. Okay. Now for the slip pitch you can use either a two-finger or a three-finger knuckleball grip, and you can vary the finger pressure—either the index or the middle finger, which will affect the way the pitch breaks. I used to do that, and Ed Lopat told me that it gave me a couple of extra pitches—remember, I would crossfire that pitch from time to time. Yes, the two-finger version is rather similar to the knuckle-curve grip, but you throw the slider with it. :baseballpitcher:
Ok, so different grips make it break differently? And what exactly is the movement on it?
One thing that pitch will not do is come in there straight as a string. Depending on which grip you use, you can get it to break either into or away from the batter, and if you get it to break under his hands it’s “Ah—feel that breeze!” as he swings and misses. The important thing, of course, is to keep the ball down, because you don’t want the guy to get so much as a piece of the ball. 8)
Well I know this is kinda asking a lot, but if you could, will you post, or send some pictures of some of your favorite ways to grip it. And could you tell me how you got it to break under the batter’s hands (a grip or something)?
I throw my knuckle curve both with movement like curveball and splitter movement. Curveball with a little less arm speed and the splitter just like a fastball
Hey, buwhite—didn’t anyone ever tell you that you have to throw every pitch, and I mean every pitch, with the same arm motion and the same arm speed? If you’re slowing down your arm speed for the curve ball you are asking for big trouble. The batters will pick up on it and hit it a country mile. I remember when we were playing the Dyre Ave. Green Sox and they had a pitcher who had a beautiful slow curve but he telegraphed it—slowed down his arm speed—and we used to get him out of there by the fourth inning. Pray you, avoid that. 8)
Hey Zita, I’m going to post a video of my pitches, and I want you to tell me, please, if the type of movement is right, and how I can make a better break like the one under the batter’s hands you were talking about.
Zita, what I do is my Knuckle Curve is thrown just like my fastball, 85 -90% and my then the other pitch is thrown like I would throw my high cheese fastball, with everything I got, I really didn’t make that clear before.
Zita, I’m a little confused. If I use a knuckle curve grip, do I need the wrist action of a slider, or no? And here are some thougths on grips, I want to know if I can use, and i think what I am thinking I can use for a grip is wrong, It would be nice if you could give me an example. 1. Put my finger tips on the rounded “C” part of the seam, and use a slider wrist action. 2. Hold one-third of the ball with a knuckle ball grip and just throw it. I’m sorry but I’m just really confused, can you explain a grip or two that you used?
Zita, nevermind all the last comments I posted, I almost got it. I read through your story on this pitch you posted last year, and I figured it out. All I need you to tell me is how do I throw a “hard” slider? Guess what, my slider wasn’t so good because I have been throwing it with the wrong type of arm action. Oh and one other thing, I was trying to throw a slip pitch today, and it spun like a fastball but the spin was very little, and the spin was off center like halway between first and pitcher (kinda hard to comprehend). Is that what it is supposed to do?
Eric, the difference between the “hard” slider and the changeup slider is in how firmly one grips the ball. I used the changeup slider once in a while, but I preferred to use the hard slider because I had better control of that pitch. I remember Ed Lopat telling me, when he was showing me how to throw the slider, to grip the ball firmly (but not too hard, because, after all, one doesn’t want to squeeze the juice out of the ball) and off-center—and of course, to throw it with the same arm speed as for a fast ball, but with the easier wrist action, kind of like a chef flipping a pancake or a crepe.
As for the knuckle-curve—again, the difference is in the grip; you throw it just like a curve ball. I remember how that pitch would come in there looking for all the world like a fast ball but would drop suddenly as it reached the plate—the way a glass hits the floor—and how the batters would be always out in front of the pitch and would miss it by a mile.
About the slip pitch—you’re all right with it. 8)
Alrighty, thanks a lot Zita!
Hey Zita, I just wanna recap how to throw it. I use a two finger knuckleball grip, I use my actual knuckles, and I throw it like a curve but just kinda roll my wrist. It had different spin some times. And with my grip I put my fingers on the middle of the “C” part. Should I maybe not put my fingers in the middle of the ball and put them on the top or bottom. One type of movement I got was a late and very sharp, deep breaking shuuto type of pitch. GOT MY FIRST HOMER TODAY (3 RUNS)!!!