Clipping:Called balls and the new delivery rule

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Date Tuesday, April 19, 1864
Text

[Star Club practice game 4/16/1864] It is plainly evident that the rule in reference to calling balls on the pitcher, and the one that confines his movements within a certain space of ground, are going to work a reformation in pitching this season that will greatly promote the beauty of the game, by adding to the work of the fielders, and making skill in that department the great element of success instead of swift pitching, as was the case last year. With a space of but three feet wide to make any preliminary movements in, and even that that to keep his feet on the ground while in the act of delivering the ball, the pitcher must in future necessarily depend almost entirely upon his skill in accuracy of delivery and his power to impart a bias to the ball for his effectiveness as a pitcher, and not, as hitherto, on his ability to intimidate the batsman by pitching swift balls at him, as was done in nearly every first class game last season.

In reference to calling balls on a pitcher, the rule expressly states that if a pitcher repeatedly fails to deliver balls to the striker “for the apparent purpose of delaying the game, or for any other cause,” balls shall be called on him. Now this sentence “for any cause,” of course, includes inability to pitch good balls, and inasmuch as every man can toss a ball accurately to a batsman though he may not be able similarly to pitch a swift ball, it of course follows that when a pitcher is so unskillful in a game as to incur the penalty now attached to poor pitching, he must either be at once changed for a better pitcher, or alter his style of delivery to that which ensures the pitching of fair balls, which a slow toss does. Hence it is that the rule will ensure more work in the field, and consequently livelier and more attractive games, for now the position of pitch becomes secondary, the fielders being now the most important players of the Nine. Hitherto Clubs have considered themselves perfectly organized as far as their success in matches is concerned, if they had a pitcher who could send in balls like Creighton did. Now, however, slow, twisting balls, pitched accurately and with judgment to the batsman must take the place of the rifle-shot style hitherto in vogue, and the sooner our pitcher realize the fact and get out of their former habits of delivery, the better for them and the more likely they are to retain their old position.

Source Brooklyn Eagle
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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