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Friday, January 2, 2015

Randy Johnson released the ball closer to home plate than at least 99.9% of pitchers.

Randy Johnson is the greatest pitcher taller than 6 feet 7 inches of all time.  That's it.  It doesn't seem like such a big deal, comparing Randy Johnson against other very tall pitchers.  Actually, 6'10" Randy Johnson is the only pitcher taller than 6'7" (79 inches) since 1901 with at least 2,500 innings.  Here are those at least 6'6":


Since 1901 only 12 pitchers, including Randy Johnson, have been at least 81 inches (6'9") and only one (Jon Rauch) was taller.  Another 26 were 6'8", including four who pitched in 2014: Dellin Betances, Doug Fister, Chris Martin and Logan Ondrusek.


Adding inches to a fastball: just release it closer to the plate.  Saturday, November 15, 2014

distance from the rubber to the front of home plate is ... 59 feet, 1 inch...

48 feet, 7 inches is the distance from the front of the pitching circle to the front of home plate...

The absurdity of it is that some pitchers, generally taller ones, can release the ball significantly closer to home plate.  This adds the proverbial inches to the fastball.  I wonder if part of the effectiveness of the drop and drive technique popularized in the 1960s is that it propels pitchers closer to the plate...

Randy Johnson is releasing the ball about from about 59 feet, 1 inch.minus Johnson's height of 6 feet 10 inches: about 52 feet from the front of home plate...

Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford was a foot shorter than Johnson.  Ford's release point would be about 53 feet.

It doesn't seem fair to compare pitchers with such different release points.  Pitchers should release the ball from a minimum distance and that distance should be the center of the diamond: about 63 feet, 7 inches, not 60 feet, 6 inches to the back of home plate.  It's also much more fair to the batters for all pitches to be released from a minimum distance.
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58 Hall of Fame pitchers since 1901 with at least 1,000 innings sorted by height (72 inches = 6 feet):


    Randy Johnson September 25, 2009
by bryce_edwards
via Wikimedia Commons
Only Jenkins, Drysdale and Rixey stood as tall as 77 inches (6'5").  Only Chesbro was shorter than Whitey Ford.  Randy Johnson is a mammoth 82 inches (6'10")!  He had to have released his pitches considerably closer to home plate than any member of the Hall of Fame.  That gave Randy Johnson an unfair advantage.  Why is it that the anal steroid zealots are bothered only by batters getting an advantage, and that with off field activity?

Randy Johnson deserves credit for harnessing and controlling his very tall, gangly body but not for simply being tall.  Randy Johnson did not break the rules by releasing his pitches closer to home plate but he did get an unfair advantage.  Shame on baseball officials for allowing this and shame on baseball fans for not realizing it.

2 comments:

z said...

It's not fair? Oh, come on. Is it fair to pitchers that some hitters are stronger or have better hand/eye coordination? Is your solution to have a portable pitching mound and move it for each and every pitcher? Can we possibly take this concept to other sports? Put weights on jitterbug running backs and shifty wide recievers? Make high flying basketball players wear constricting uniforms? Should we not recognize JimBrown as one of the greatest RBs in the game because he was as big as a contemporary defensive tackle? Or George Miken or Wilt Chamberlain because they were so much taller than the rest of the league? "It's not fair" is childish, at best.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Quoting the post:

Pitchers should release the ball from a minimum distance and that distance should be the center of the diamond: about 63 feet, 7 inches, not 60 feet, 6 inches to the back of home plate. It's also much more fair to the batters for all pitches to be released from a minimum distance...

Randy Johnson deserves credit for harnessing and controlling his very tall, gangly body but not for simply being tall. Randy Johnson did not break the rules by releasing his pitches closer to home plate but he did get an unfair advantage. Shame on baseball officials for allowing this and shame on baseball fans for not realizing it.