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An Eephus pitch is a kind of pitch in baseball. It is a kind of "junk pitch" (trick pitch). An Eephus pitch is very slow and is used to catch the batter off guard. The pitch was invented by Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1940s. The name Eephus pitch comes from the Hebrew word efes, which means "nothing." Pirates manager Frankie Frisch claimed that the pitch was named by outfielder Maurice Van Robays. Van Robays explained that "Eephus ain't nothing, and that's a nothing pitch."
The Eephus pitch is thrown overhand, like other pitches in baseball. It is unusually slow, and has a high arc trajectory (the ball travels along a high curve.) The trajectory (the path the ball travels) looks more like a pitch from slow-pitch softball than baseball.
The Eephus pitch is unusually slow. It appears to move in slow motion. The ball travels 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) or less. Baseball pitches in Major League Baseball usually travel between 70 to 100 miles per hour (110 to 160 km/h). The Eephus pitch is considered a trick pitch because it is so slow.
The Eephus pitch is sometimes called by other names. These names usually refer to an Eephus pitch thrown by a specific pitcher. Some of the most famous of these names are:
- Fossum Flip, thrown by Casey Fossum
- the folly floater, thrown by Steve Hamilton
- LaLob, thrown by Dave LaRoche
- Leephus, spaceball, and moonball, thrown by Bill "Spaceman" Lee
- the soap bubble, thrown by Vicente Padilla
- the Pascual Pitch, thrown by Pascual Perez
- the Dead Fish, thrown by Dave Stieb
Some other nicknames are bloop curve and gravity curve. It is sometimes also called the Bugs Bunny curve. This name comes from a Bugs Bunny cartoon called "Baseball Bugs." In the cartoon, batters swing three times at a very slow pitch before it reaches home plate.
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- Pingle, Brad, "Notes: Fossum introduces new quirk" Archived 2007-10-27 at the Wayback Machine, MLB.com, July 31, 2005
- "Steve Hamilton, 62, 'Floater' Pitcher for Yankees". New York Times. December 4, 1997. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/04/sports/steve-hamilton-62-floater-pitcher-for-yankees.html. Retrieved June 16.
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