Clipping:The case for the overhand delivery in the AA

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Date Wednesday, June 3, 1885

It seems to be the popular verdict that the rule restricting the American Association pitchers to the delivery of the ball at a level with or below the shoulder must go. It certainly has lost any favor that it may formerly have had in the West. In nearly all the games played this season it has been a constant bone of contention, and a growing germ of ill-feeling between the captains of the respective clubs, the captains and umpires, the umpires and the audiences, and a signal for journalistic outbursts all along the line. In the first place it's useless. Even though it were rigidly enforced by all the umpires (which decidedly is not the case) it could not be satisfactory in its general results, because in a measure it defeats the very thing it aims to accomplish, viz.: --Increase the batting and diminish the pitcher's effectiveness. A pitcher who is being continually “called down” by the umpire and “guyed” by the audience can accomplish no accurate work; he will pitch wold or weaken, or become nervous and lose his “gauge” to such a degree that the opponents gain an unfair advantage. No lover of the sport enjoys a game replete with wild pitches and bases on balls, and nothing conduces so much to that as the fear on the pitcher's part of getting his arm too high. Over a year's actual trial has proved this, and a careful observance in all states and emergencies of the game has put beyond reasonable question the fact that this restriction works to general disadvantage and dissatisfaction. Let the opinion of every honest, experienced player be solicited, and see if it be not largely condemned. Let the pitcher deliver as under last season's League rules and give the batter double room at the plate. This will work the desired result and meet with as much satisfaction as can be expected when dealing with the professional and non-professional, the skilled and the unskilled, the learned and ignorant public. No one can enjoy a game when the objective point of the eyesight is the pitcher's arm and the objective sound is the umpire's decision on the legality or illegality of the delivery. No wonder the audiences howl.

Source Sporting Life
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings


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