There lots of different pitches that I see thrown on a daily basis while watching baseball. Fastball, change-up, curveball, even a knuckleball – not too uncommon. However, I can’t tell you the last time I saw an eephus pitch, more commonly known as a junk pitch, a floater that finds its way across the plate. In Japan’s Pacific League, right-handed pitcher Kazuhito Tadano throw a pretty great eephus pitch to a hitter, who responded with by laughing at him. For the record, the pitch was called a ball.
Kazuhito Tadano actually spent some time in the majors pitching for the Cleveland Indians back in 2004 and 2005. For his MLB career, he has a 1-1 record with a 4.47 ERA and 40 strikeouts. The Indians actually traded him to the Oakland Athletics in 2006, where Tadano spent most of his time in the minors and gave up 29 runs over 5 games in Triple-A. He’s been back pitching in Japan since 2008.
Kazuhito Tadano’s eephus pitch isn’t the only unique type of pitch to come out of Japan. Daisuke Matsuzaka can supposedly throw a gyroball, a pitch that is very popular with many Japanese pitchers. The gyroball is thrown with a spiral-like spin so that there is no Magnus force on the ball as it crosses home plate. Matsuzaka has not used the gyroball very frequently during MLB games, however, and there is much debate about whether he can actually throw one or if he has simply just been working on perfecting this trick pitch.
Whether Daisuke can throw the gyroball or not, it’s clear by the video below that Kazuhito Tadano certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to the eephus pitch. Watch for yourself and be entertained.
Photo via YouTube