Sidearm - Historical Progression of Pitching

Historical Progression of Pitching

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the game of baseball began to evolve from a sport played by amateurs for recreation into a more serious game played by professionals. One of the most dramatic changes was the transition of the pitcher's delivery from an underhand motion to an overhanded throw. Before the American Civil War, the pitcher's role was to initiate the action by offering an underhanded throw to the batter, in much the same way that a basketball referee offers up a jump ball to begin play. As the game progressed towards professionalism and became more serious, pitchers began to attempt to prevent the batter from hitting the ball by throwing faster pitches. The rules governing the delivery of pitches proved to be hard to enforce, and pitchers continued to stretch the boundaries of the rules until by the 1870s, the release point of pitches had reached the pitcher's waist level. As the game continued to evolve into the 20th century, pitchers' release points continued to rise to present day levels, although some adherents continued to use the sidearm delivery.

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