What is an Eephus Pitch and How to Throw Eephus Pitch?

John Means

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What is an Eephus Pitch and How to Throw Eephus Pitch

Baseball is a sport known for its diverse range of pitches, each designed to challenge hitters and keep them off-balance. Among the many pitches in a pitcher’s arsenal, there is one that stands out for its unorthodox nature and eye-catching trajectory: the eephus pitch.

This peculiar off-speed pitch, characterized by its high-arcing trajectory and slow speed, has fascinated baseball enthusiasts for decades.

In this article, we will delve into the world of the eephus pitch, exploring its definition, origins, mechanics, legality, advantages, disadvantages, and notable moments in baseball history.

So, join us as we unravel the mysteries of this captivating pitch, discover its mechanics, understand its advantages and disadvantages, and explore memorable moments when the eephus pitch left hitters and spectators in awe.

What Is the Eephus Pitch in Baseball?

The eephus pitch is a unique and intriguing pitch in the game of baseball. Its slow speed and high-arcing trajectory make it a deceptive and unpredictable weapon for pitchers.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of the eephus pitch, exploring its definition, origin, historical background, notable pitchers who have thrown it, and the various names and variations associated with this fascinating pitch.

Origin of the Term “Eephus Pitch”

The term “eephus pitch” originated in the 1940s and is believed to have been coined by pitcher Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The pitch was named after a phrase used by Sewell’s teammate, outfielder Maurice Van Robays. “Eephus” was a playful expression used by Van Robays to describe something extraordinary or unexpected.

The eephus pitch itself is a slow, high-arcing pitch that catches batters off-guard due to its unusual trajectory. It is an off-speed pitch intended to disrupt the hitter’s timing and induce weak contact or swings and misses.

Historical Background and Notable Pitchers Who Threw the Pitch

The eephus pitch gained popularity in the 1940s when Rip Sewell became known for his mastery of the pitch. Sewell’s success with the eephus pitch inspired other pitchers to experiment with it, and it became a novelty pitch that fascinated fans and players alike.

Over the years, several notable pitchers have incorporated the eephus pitch into their repertoire.

One of the most famous examples is Dave LaRoche, a journeyman left-handed pitcher who threw the pitch and referred to it as the “La Lob.” LaRoche’s usage of the eephus pitch brought renewed attention to this unconventional offering.

Variations and Names Associated With the Eephus Pitch

While the term “eephus pitch” is widely used, there are variations of the pitch with different names. Some pitchers refer to it as the “blooper pitch,” “moonball,” or “butterfly pitch.”

These names reflect the floaty and mesmerizing nature of the pitch as it gracefully arcs toward the plate.

Each pitcher may have their own unique grip, release point, and approach to throwing the eephus pitch. Some variations involve more backspin, creating additional movement or drop, while others focus on maximizing the pitch’s loft and deception.

The eephus pitch is a captivating and unconventional pitch that adds an element of surprise to the game of baseball. Its slow speed and high-arcing trajectory make it a challenging pitch for hitters to anticipate and connect with.

Whether referred to as the eephus pitch, blooper pitch, or any other name, this unique offering has left its mark on the sport’s history and continues to intrigue fans and players alike.

Mechanics of Throwing the Eephus Pitch

Mechanics of Throwing the Eephus Pitch

The eephus pitch may seem like a whimsical and unpredictable offering, but it requires careful execution and control from the pitcher. In this section, we will explore the mechanics involved in throwing the eephus pitch.

Starting with the same mechanics as a traditional pitch, the pitcher must adjust their grip, release point, and delivery to achieve the desired trajectory and slow speed. Emphasizing control and precision is crucial to consistently executing this unique pitch.

Starting With the Same Mechanics as a Traditional Pitch

To throw an eephus pitch effectively, the pitcher begins with the same basic mechanics as they would for any other pitch.

This includes their stance on the mound, their wind-up or stretch, and their arm action. By starting with familiar mechanics, the pitcher can maintain consistency and ensure a smooth transition into the execution of the eephus pitch.

Adjusting Grip and Release Point for the Desired Trajectory

One of the key elements in throwing the eephus pitch is the adjustment of the grip and release point. The pitcher may alter their grip on the ball to achieve the desired effect. They may choose to use a looser grip to impart less spin and create more loft on the pitch.

Experimentation with different grip variations allows the pitcher to find the grip that best suits their comfort and achieves the desired trajectory.

In addition to the grip, the release point is crucial in determining the pitch’s trajectory. The pitcher must release the ball at a higher point than usual to create an exaggerated arc.

Timing and consistency in the release point are essential to maintain control and avoid telegraphing the pitch to the hitter.

Executing the Exaggerated Arc and Slow Speed of the Pitch

The defining characteristic of the eephus pitch is its high-arcing trajectory. To achieve this, the pitcher must impart enough height and loft on the pitch as it leaves their hand.

This can be done by extending the arm fully and following through with an upward motion during the delivery. The pitcher aims to maximize the height and arc while still directing the pitch toward the strike zone.

Additionally, the eephus pitch requires a deliberate reduction in speed compared to other pitches. The pitcher must use a slower arm action and exert less force on the ball during the release.

This intentional decrease in velocity adds to the pitch’s deception and allows it to catch hitters off-guard.

Emphasizing Control and Precision in Delivery

While the eephus pitch may appear unconventional, control and precision are crucial for its success. The pitcher must maintain command over the pitch’s trajectory, ensuring it remains within the strike zone or entices the hitter to swing.

Consistency in grip, release point, and arm action is vital to maintain control and deceive the hitter effectively.

The pitcher must also be mindful of the pitch’s speed and timing to disrupt the hitter’s rhythm. Mistiming the delivery or failing to execute the pitch with consistency can result in the ball being easily recognized and hit hard by the batter.

Mastering the mechanics of the eephus pitch requires a combination of skill, control, and precision. Starting with the same mechanics as a traditional pitch, the pitcher adjusts their grip and release point to create the desired trajectory.

By executing the exaggerated arc and slow speed of the pitch, they can effectively deceive hitters and disrupt their timing. Emphasizing control and precision is crucial for consistently delivering the eephus pitch with accuracy and effectiveness.

With practice and attention to detail, pitchers can add this unique and deceptive offering to their repertoire.

Legalities of the Eephus Pitch

What Is the Eephus Pitch in Baseball

The legality of the eephus pitch in baseball is often a topic of discussion. In this section, we will explore the legalities of the eephus pitch by examining the rules regarding pitches in baseball.

By understanding these rules and justifying how the eephus pitch fits within them, we can determine its legitimacy as a legal pitch in the game.

The Rules Regarding Pitches in Baseball

In baseball, there are rules and regulations that govern the pitching motion and types of pitches a pitcher can throw. These rules are outlined by various governing bodies, including Major League Baseball (MLB) and other leagues.

Some general rules related to pitching include:

  • The pitcher must have one foot on the pitching rubber before starting the delivery.
  • The pitcher must deliver the pitch with a smooth and continuous motion.
  • The pitcher must not use foreign substances or alter the baseball to gain an unfair advantage.

Additionally, specific rules define what constitutes a legal pitch, such as the requirement to deliver the pitch within the strike zone or to deliver the pitch with a certain arm motion.

Justifying the Legality of the Eephus Pitch Within the Rulebook

The eephus pitch, with its slow speed and high-arcing trajectory, does not violate any specific rules outlined in the rulebook. While it may deviate from traditional pitching techniques, it does not violate the fundamental rules of pitching.

The eephus pitch is typically thrown with the same basic pitching mechanics as any other pitch. The pitcher starts with one foot on the pitching rubber and delivers the pitch in a smooth and continuous motion.

The grip, release point, and trajectory may differ, but these variations are not explicitly prohibited in the rules.

Furthermore, the eephus pitch falls within the strike zone, satisfying the requirement to deliver the pitch within the defined boundaries. While it may catch hitters off-guard due to its deceptive nature, it does not violate the rulebook’s guidelines for the strike zone.

Ultimately, the legality of the eephus pitch is upheld as long as the pitcher adheres to the fundamental rules of pitching and does not employ any forbidden techniques or actions.

The eephus pitch is a legal offering in the game of baseball. While it may differ from traditional pitches in terms of speed, trajectory, and deception, it aligns with the rules governing pitching.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Eephus Pitch

The eephus pitch, with its high-arcing trajectory and slow speed, presents both advantages and disadvantages for pitchers. In this section, we will explore the advantages of using the eephus pitch, such as deception and disrupting hitters’ timing.

Additionally, we will discuss the disadvantages and challenges associated with the pitch, including the potential for hitters to adjust and the requirement for precise control and execution.

Advantages for Pitchers in Using the Eephus Pitch

The following sections will help you understand the advantages of using Eephus Pitch.

  • Deception and Unpredictability for Hitters: One of the primary advantages of the eephus pitch is the element of deception it brings to the game. With its slow speed and high-arcing trajectory, the pitch can catch hitters off-guard, as it stands in stark contrast to the faster and more common pitches they typically face. Hitters may struggle to anticipate and time the pitch correctly, leading to swings and misses or weakly hit balls.
  • Disrupting Timing and Forcing Adjustments: The eephus pitch’s unique characteristics force hitters to adjust their timing and approach at the plate. The pitch’s slower speed and exaggerated arc can disrupt the rhythm and timing that hitters have developed for more conventional pitches. As a result, they may have to wait longer to recognize the pitch and make contact, potentially leading to mistimed swings or hesitant reactions. This disruption in timing can give the pitcher an advantage by keeping hitters off-balance.

Disadvantages and Challenges Associated With the Eephus Pitch

To understand the disadvantages and challenges that are associated with Eephus Pitch, you can check the points below.

Hitters’ Potential to Adjust and Make Solid Contact:

While the eephus pitch can initially surprise hitters, skilled and experienced batters have the ability to adjust to its unique characteristics. As they face the pitch more frequently, hitters may become familiar with its trajectory and adjust their swing accordingly.

This adjustment can enable them to make solid contact and drive the ball effectively, diminishing the pitch’s effectiveness over time.

Requirement for Precise Control and Execution:

Successfully executing the eephus pitch requires precise control and execution from the pitcher. The slow speed and exaggerated arc of the pitch demand careful command over its trajectory and location.

Any inconsistency or lack of control in the pitch’s delivery can lead to unintended consequences, such as changing the pitch in the strike zone or missing the target entirely. The eephus pitch places a premium on the pitcher’s ability to consistently execute with precision.

The eephus pitch offers advantages for pitchers through its deception and the disruption it creates for hitters’ timing. It can catch batters off-guard and force them to adjust their approach at the plate. However, the pitch also presents challenges and disadvantages.

Skilled hitters may eventually adjust to the unique characteristics of the eephus pitch, making solid contact more consistently. Additionally, the pitch requires precise control and execution from the pitcher to consistently deliver it effectively.

Tips for Mastering the Eephus Pitch

Mastering the eephus pitch requires practice, precision, and a deep understanding of its unique mechanics. In this section, we will explore some valuable tips that can help pitchers enhance their mastery of the eephus pitch.

By focusing on developing the proper grip and release, practicing control and consistency, and understanding the importance of timing and varying speeds, pitchers can improve their execution of this intriguing pitch.

Developing a Proper Grip and Release for the Desired Trajectory

To effectively execute the eephus pitch, it is crucial to develop a proper grip and release that allows for the desired trajectory. Experiment with different grips, such as a loose grip with the fingers spread apart, to create the necessary backspin for the pitch.

Find a grip that feels comfortable and provides you with control over the pitch’s movement. Additionally, work on adjusting your release point to achieve the desired high-arcing trajectory.

Practice releasing the ball at a higher point in your throwing motion to generate the necessary height and arc for the pitch.

Practicing Control and Consistency in the Pitch’s Execution

Control and consistency are key elements in mastering the eephus pitch. Focus on maintaining a smooth and consistent delivery, avoiding any abrupt or jerky motions that could affect the pitch’s accuracy and effectiveness.

Develop a consistent release point and arm motion to ensure a repetitive and reliable delivery.

Work on hitting specific target locations with the pitch, honing your ability to place it precisely where you want it. Practice regularly to improve your control and develop muscle memory for the pitch.

Importance of Timing and Varying Speeds

Timing is crucial when throwing the Eephus pitch. Understanding when to unleash this deceptive offering can greatly enhance its effectiveness. Work on reading hitters’ tendencies and identifying situations where the eephus pitch can catch them off-guard.

Additionally, consider varying the speed of the pitch to further disrupt hitters’ timing. By mixing slower eephus pitches with faster offerings, you can keep hitters off-balance and make the eephus pitch even more deceptive.

Mastering the eephus pitch requires dedication, practice, and a focus on specific aspects of its execution. By developing a proper grip and release, practicing control and consistency, and understanding the importance of timing and varying speeds, pitchers can improve their command of this unique pitch.

The eephus pitch offers a valuable weapon in a pitcher’s arsenal, providing deception and unpredictability when used effectively. With perseverance and attention to detail, pitchers can refine their skills and confidently deploy the eephus pitch to keep hitters off-balance and gain an edge on the mound.

Notable Eephus Pitch Moments in Baseball

The eephus pitch, with its unorthodox trajectory and slow speed, has produced several memorable moments in baseball history. In this section, we will highlight notable instances of the eephus pitch in games and explore the memorable reactions from hitters and spectators alike.

Highlighting Famous Instances of the Eephus Pitch in Games

  1. Rip Sewell’s All-Star Game Eephus: In the 1946 MLB All-Star Game, pitcher Rip Sewell famously unleashed his eephus pitch against Ted Williams. With the bases loaded, Sewell floated a slow, high-arcing pitch that left Williams flabbergasted. Williams swung and missed, capturing the attention of the crowd and solidifying the eephus pitch’s place in baseball lore.
  2. David Wells’ Perfect Game: In 1998, pitcher David Wells threw a perfect game for the New York Yankees. During the game, he surprised Minnesota Twins hitter Terry Steinbach with an eephus pitch that caught him off-guard. Steinbach swung and missed, illustrating the effectiveness of the pitch even in high-stakes moments.

Memorable Reactions From Hitters and Spectators

  1. Hitters’ Expressions of Surprise: When faced with an eephus pitch, hitters often display various reactions of surprise and disbelief. Some hitters, like Ted Williams, have been caught off-guard by the slow speed and high trajectory of the pitch, resulting in animated expressions of astonishment. These moments highlight the pitch’s ability to confound and deceive even the most seasoned batters.
  2. Spectators’ Gasps and Cheers: When a pitcher unleashes an eephus pitch, spectators in the stands are often treated to an extraordinary sight. The pitch’s exaggerated arc and slow movement elicit gasps and murmurs of excitement from the crowd. If a hitter swings and misses or is caught off-balance by the pitch, the crowd erupts in cheers and applause, appreciating the artistry and audacity of the eephus pitch.

Notable moments featuring the Eephus pitch have left a lasting impression on baseball fans and players alike.

From Rip Sewell’s famous All-Star Game eephus to David Wells’ perfect game, these instances demonstrate the unique nature of the pitch and its ability to surprise and entertain.

The memorable reactions from both hitters and spectators underscore the impact and intrigue of the eephus pitch in the game of baseball.

Whether it leaves batters bewildered or garners applause from the crowd, the eephus pitch continues to captivate and create indelible moments in the sport’s rich history.

How to Throw Eephus Pitch: 4 Steps

Throwing an Eephus pitch is not a very difficult task. You can follow the steps below to understand the strategies well.

Step 1: Grip

To throw an eephus pitch, start by adjusting your grip on the baseball. Experiment with different grips to find one that allows you to generate the desired spin and trajectory.

Some pitchers prefer a loose grip with their fingers spread apart, while others may find success with a modified grip that suits their individual throwing style. The key is to find a grip that feels comfortable and allows you to execute the pitch with control.

Step 2: Arm Angle

Next, consider your arm angle when throwing the eephus pitch. Typically, pitchers use an overhand delivery for this pitch, similar to their other pitches.

Maintain your usual arm angle to ensure consistency in your mechanics and to avoid tipping off the hitter about the impending eephus pitch. Keeping a consistent arm angle will also help you maintain control and precision in your delivery.

Step 3: Spin and Movement

The eephus pitch relies on generating a significant amount of backspin to create its high-arcing trajectory. Focus on imparting backspin on the ball as you release it. This backspin will generate lift and cause the ball to move in a distinct manner.

The movement of the eephus pitch can vary depending on factors such as release point and grip, but generally, it tends to have a slow, looping movement that can catch hitters off-guard.

Step 4: Release

The release point is crucial when throwing an Eephus pitch. Aim to release the ball at a higher point in your throwing motion compared to your other pitches.

This higher release will contribute to the pitch’s exaggerated arc and allow it to reach its maximum height before descending toward the plate.

Experiment with your release point during practice to find the optimal spot that generates the desired trajectory and movement for your eephus pitch.

By following these four steps – adjusting your grip, maintaining your usual arm angle, focusing on generating spin and movement, and releasing the ball at the right point – you can develop an effective eephus pitch.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Eephus Pitch

1. Deception and unpredictability1. Hitters’ potential to adjust
2. Disrupting timing and adjustments2. Requirement for precise control
3. Catching hitters off-guard3. Risk of leaving the pitch hittable
4. Creating additional variation4. Limited effectiveness against skilled


Is the Eephus pitch effective against all types of hitters?

The effectiveness of the eephus pitch can vary depending on the hitter’s skill level and experience. While it can catch many hitters off-guard, more skilled batters may be able to recognize the pitch and adjust their swing accordingly.

It is important for pitchers to assess the situation and the hitter’s tendencies before deciding to throw an eephus pitch.

Are there any specific counts or situations where the eephus pitch is more effective?

The eephus pitch can be effective in a variety of counts and situations. However, pitchers often use it when they have an advantage in the count or when they want to disrupt the timing of the hitter. 

For example, throwing an eephus pitch on a 3-0 count can surprise the hitter who is expecting a fastball. It can also be effective in late-game situations when a pitcher wants to keep the opposing team off-balance.

Can the Eephus pitch be used as a strikeout pitch?

While the eephus pitch is not typically used as a strikeout pitch due to its slow speed, it can occasionally result in a strikeout if the hitter is caught off-guard or if they swing and miss due to the pitch’s movement. 

However, pitchers generally rely on other pitches with more velocity and movement for strikeout situations.

Are there any variations of the eephus pitch?

Yes, there are variations of the eephus pitch that pitchers may use to add further deception. Some pitchers may experiment with different grips or release points to alter the trajectory or movement of the pitch. 

These variations can help keep hitters off-balance and increase the effectiveness of the eephus pitch.

Wrapping Up

The eephus pitch is a unique and unconventional pitch in baseball known for its high-arcing trajectory and slow speed. While it may not be a commonly used pitch, it has found its place in the game and has been utilized by certain pitchers throughout history.

The eephus pitch can be a valuable tool for pitchers, providing them with deception, unpredictability, and the ability to disrupt the timing of hitters.

However, like any pitch, the eephus pitch has its advantages and disadvantages. Its ability to catch hitters off-guard and force them to make adjustments can be a significant advantage for pitchers.

After this long discussion, I can now anticipate that you will understand the concept very well. For further inquiries, you can comment to let us know. Thank you.

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John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

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