Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Truth, Stranger than Fiction

This is an amazing story. Even if you don't like baseball, there are some amazing elements.
It's impossible to know with certainty, of course, but considering all the evidence, it's very likely that Steve Dalkowski was the hardest-throwing pitcher in the history of baseball.
Wow. How come I never heard of him? He never reached the major leagues! How is that? Oh...
Quite simply, the problem was Dalkowski's control, or more precisely his utter lack of it. If there's reason to question whether Dalkowski's velocity was unmatched in history, there's really none to doubt his wildness. Not only has there never been another professional pitcher who achieved feats of wildness equal to Dalkowski's, there's never been another pitcher who came remotely close.
The page then recounts an amazing litany of accomplishments, starting with this:
- In high school, he had an 18-strikeout, 18-walk no-hitter.
But even more:
- In one extra-inning game in the Eastern League, Dalkowski struck out 27 batters and walked 16 while throwing 283 pitches.

- One time he was pulled in the second inning after throwing 120 pitches.
It just keeps going. And to top it off, there is a litany of brutal alcohol abuse and such. Just an amazing story, and all true.

Thanks to Paul Campos at LGM for pointing out this great item. I like his closing comment:
Apparently he didn't hit many batters, which I suppose is a tribute to the speed of human reflexes when survival is at stake.
What could I add to that?

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