Must-click link: “The Unfair One” -- tracking the demise of the Big Overhand Curve
Pat Jordan wrote something fantastic. I know, shocking. I mean, he only writes something fantastic every single time he writes something and if you don’t read Pat Jordan stuff you’re basically living your life improperly. But know that he wrote something fantastic again.
It’s about the Big Overhand Curve. Or “The Unfair One,” as his minor league manager called way back in the late 50s. The crazy, nearly-unhittable pitch that made Sandy Koufax Sandy Koufax and which, for some reason, hardly anyone throws anymore. Adam Wainwright does. Clayton Kershaw does. Some others do. But it’s just not in most pitchers’ repertoire these days.
Jordan wanted to know why, so he talked to several pitching coaches, scouts, etc., down in spring training this year, asking them why no one throws it. The answers varied -- it’s to hard to teach, the small strike zones make it hard to get over, the mound got lowered making the windup for it harder, the harder breaking things like sliders are preferred now -- but the answers don’t matter nearly as much as the telling of the story. It’s fantastic prose but it’s even better education about pitching. How the pitch is thrown compared to sliders and cutters. Why it’s better, but why it can be worse if you do it wrong. He also add in several fantastic war stories. But they’re not the run-of-the-mill war stories. They are colorful and illustrative at the same time.
Just amazing baseball writing. I could read and re-read this article all day. Do yourself a favor and at least read it once.