The Eephus pitch, a term that went viral all over the internet last week when Japanese pitcher Kazuhito Tadano’s attempt at throwing one resulted in a controversial call. In the six years that I have been following baseball (well somewhat following), this was the first time that I came across this term.
So I decided to search the internet.
First Stop: Dictionary
Turns out, Eephus is not a word by itself. The only recognizable term associated with these six letters is this special type of baseball pitch. The image below was the dictionary’s way of flicking me off:
Urban Dictionary was a little bit nicer towards me and at least gave a definition: “An Eephus pitch, in baseball, is considered a “junk” pitch with very low speed. The delivery from the pitcher has very low velocity and usually catches the hitter off-guard.”
In Baseball, an Eephus pitch is a low speed junk ball pitch that is meant to catch the batter off guard. First used in 1940’s by the Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell who is credited as the inventor of this pitch, the Eephus has been used time and again by pitchers in Major League Baseball to strike batters out. This pitch has also accumulated tons of different names over the years with each player giving the pitch a name of its own
- Dave LaRoche called his “LaLob”
- Dave Steib’s “Dead Fish”
- Bill Lee liked calling his “Leephus or Spaceball”
Other nicknames for the Eephus pitch include the balloon ball, blooper ball,gondola, parachute, rainbow pitch, The Monty Brewster and Bugs Bunny curve, a reference to the 1946 Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘Baseball Bugs’ in which batters swing three times at a pitch before the ball reaches the plate.
If you are interested in reading more, please visit the Wikipedia page or read this NY times article titled ‘A brief history of the Eephus Pitch’
If you want to learn how to throw one of these, I suggest you stop being lazy and find it on Youtube.