Greg Maddux: The Science of Pitching a Ball

Greg Maddux

Many baseball players have stepped up to the mound to throw fearsome pitches to the batter, but there’s one baseball player who has worked hard throughout his baseball career and is now honored for it. Greg Maddux has been welcomed to the Hall of Fame as being the best pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. As his teammates and fans watched him play earlier in his career, many will describe Maddux as having a mean pitch; a pitch that’s different from other baseball players. Reports state that Greg Maddux explains the science of pitching a ball in more than one interview. This special pitch has earned him nicknames such as “Mad Dog” and “The Professor.”

Almost anyone will think that throwing a ball is easy and doesn’t require any skill. In the case of Greg Maddux, pitching a ball required science. Maddux states, “My thing was I relied more on movement than I did location, and in order to get the ball to move (to run and sink) you have to throw it hard.” He continues, “It’s hard to throw a pitch easy and create movement. The harder you throw, the more spin you can put on it and the spin creates movements. I tried to be aggressive. It might not have looked like I was trying to throw hard, but I was firing it man.” Maddux also learned a while ago pitching required stealth and athleticism to win against the opponent team.

According to reports, opponent teams such as the Yankees have witnessed Maddux’s awesome throwing power. Many will describe the situation as being fearful and “facing Maddux was a nightmare.” Doug Glanville, MLB analyst for ESPN and former baseball player for the Phillies describes Maddux’s pitches, “He had pitches that looked like they were supposed to do one thing. He could make the ball move contrary to its spin.”.

One of Greg Maddux’s famous pitches was called the backup slider. In baseball a backup slider is when the pitch is off the plate and breaks in the inside corner. It’s a technique that fools the batter into thinking the pitcher is trying to hit him with the ball. Glanville describes the Maddux’s backup slider as involving physics because the ball will start on a fastball and then away at the last minute. Despite his reign as the “The Professor” he began to lose his momentum at the age of 42. In 2008 at Dodger Stadium he threw a curveball, peeked at the scoreboard and realized his speed has been reduced to 82 miles per hour. It was then Maddux decided he’s no longer of value for his team and for baseball.

Greg Maddux wasn’t the only one inducted to the Hall of Fame. Tom Glavine of the Atlanta Braves and Frank Thomas of the White Sox were also welcomed to the Hall of Fame for their winning scores and fine contribution to baseball. Greg Maddux’s science to pitching a ball is truly remarkable and he has earned the right to have a spot in the Hall of Fame.

By Bridget Cunningham


The New York Times


Chicago Tribune Sports

The Hardball Times

The New York Times

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