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100 MPH Fastballs: The Hardest Throwing Pitchers in Baseball History

I've always loved watching baseball. I fell in love with the sport at the age of 12.

The Rare Gift: The 100 MPH Fastball

Ah baseball, I so love thee. The season starts in the spring and brings with it all the joy of the new year with new heroes, GOATs, and loads of terrific stories.

I fell in love with the sport at the age of 12. It takes immense athletic skill and determination to make it into the major leagues, but some people have skills that seem superhuman, and the ability to throw a ball at 100 mph is certainly an impressive one.

One might think that only a large man could toss a baseball over 60 feet at 100 miles per hour; however, this assumption is false. The pitcher's size is not significant.

It is the fascinating power that these rare and gifted men hold that is so intriguing. Not all these men are truly baseball greats. They are all, however, legends. They were capable of launching pitches that batters never saw and only heard after it was too late.

Walter Johnson, the only pitcher to record over 400 wins and 3,500 strikeouts.

Walter Johnson, the only pitcher to record over 400 wins and 3,500 strikeouts.

Walter Johnson: The Big Train

Walter Perry Johnson (November 6, 1887 – December 10, 1946), was never recorded throwing a baseball at 100 mph or more. He lived and played in a time when instruments for measuring a baseball's speed didn't exist. His statistics, however, indicate that his pitches very likely reached those speeds.

Johnson faced all the early legends of the sport. He was regarded as the fastest throwing pitcher ever seen by most of them. Ty Cobb had the following to say,

"...The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup. And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him... every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park."

Johnson ended his career as the all-time strikeout king, a record he'd hold until Nolan Ryan broke it more than 55 years later. Johnson's 417 career wins are second only to Cy Young, and he still owns an untouched record of 110 shutout games.

Bullet Bob Feller

Bullet Bob Feller

Bob Feller: "Bullet Bob" or "The Heater from Van Meter"

Robert William Andrew Feller (November 3, 1918 – December 15, 2010), was the first flame-throwing pitcher to have modern equipment measure his fastball's velocity. How good was Bob Feller? He debuted in the major leagues at age 17, and he dominated the competition. The man who'd been sent to scout Feller had the following to say,

"This was a kid pitcher I had to get. I knew he was something special. His fastball was fast and fuzzy; it didn't go in a straight line; it would wiggle and shoot around. I didn't know then that he was smart and had the heart of a lion, but I knew that I was looking at an arm the likes of which you see only once in a lifetime."

He'd face and often defeat the best hitters of his era. He even graced the cover of Time magazine. He set a new record for strikeouts in a game with 18. He would throw three no-hitters and created such a stir with his right arm that the league set up a commission to see if they could determine how fast his pitches really were. A Harley Davidson motorcycle was used as a speedometer; it was given a 10-foot head start and sped at 86 mph. It was determined Feller's pitch traveled 98.6 miles per hour. A later method determined Feller threw 104 miles per hour.

Feller was not just a baseball hero. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Feller enlisted for military service. He refused all non-combat roles that would have had him serve more as a cheerleader. Feller demanded to see the front line. He served as a gunner on the USS Alabama, participating in major military battles between the Allied forces and Imperial Japan. Feller was the first professional athlete in the USA to volunteer for service.

He returned from the Second World War and played many more seasons, finishing his career with 266 wins and 2,581 strikeouts. He would have easily won 100 more games and have 1000 more strikeouts had he not sacrificed years of his career for the war effort.

Steve Dalkowski, the legendary minor league pitcher who drank as hard as he threw

Steve Dalkowski, the legendary minor league pitcher who drank as hard as he threw

Steve Dalkowski: Man and Myth

“He was unbelievable. He threw a lot faster than Ryan. It’s hard to believe but he did,” asserted Earl Weaver, who watched Nolan Ryan pitch dozens of times, and managed Dalkowski.

Paul Blair, who batted against Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Sam McDowell, Vida Blue, Dick Radatz, and Goose Gossage, said of Dalkowski, “He threw the hardest I ever saw.”

A near-identical statement came from Cal Ripken Sr., who caught for Dalkowski and whose professional career as a player, manager, and coach spanned five decades. He observed Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson during his career. He asserted, “Steve Dalkowski was the hardest thrower I ever saw.”

With a terrifying arm and a terrible drinking problem, Dalkowski never even played in the major leagues. He did have a long minor league career—a career in which he terrified people with pitches rumored to average 104 miles per hour. An unlikely rumor is that he was able to throw at speeds of 125 miles per hour.

He only stood 5'11" and weighed 175 pounds, yet people who saw large men like J.R. Richard and Randy Johnson pitch say Dalkowski threw much harder than those two. Richard and Johnson have both officially clocked in at over 100 miles per hour on numerous occasions.

The anecdotes from other hall of fame players are maybe even more telling. Ted Williams, often considered the greatest hitter who ever played the game, once faced Dalkowski in a minor league warm-up. Ted had retired fairly young and was still likely able to compete at the major league level. Out of curiosity, he stepped in (as a coach) into the batting box against Dalwkoski in a practice session. Williams's skill as a hitter was not just in his swing and determination but in his legendary eyesight. Ted took one pitch and stepped away—he said he never saw the ball, he'd only heard it.

The late, unbelievably great J.R. Richard, whose career ended after a 1980 stroke

The late, unbelievably great J.R. Richard, whose career ended after a 1980 stroke

J.R. Richard: Greatness and Tragedy

The rise and fall of J.R. Richard is not a pretty tale. The man had as much skill and power as other greats such as Nolan Ryan. However, as a black man, he surely did suffer some discrimination down in Houston, Texas, a town where he ought to have been more loved and appreciated for what he brought there.

James Rodney Richard (born March 7, 1950) played his entire career with the Houston Astros. From 1976 to 1980, only two other pitchers in all of baseball could compare to him, Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan. Standing at 6'8", J.R. Richard could regularly throw the ball at 100 miles per hour and above. He struck out more than 300 batters in a season on two occasions and in 1979 he led the National League with the lowest earned run average.

The 1980 season started well for Richard and he had Nolan Ryan on the team with him—providing the Houston Astros with the two most powerful right-handed flame throwers in all of baseball. However, it wasn't long before J.R. would report to his staff that he wasn't feeling quite right. He wasn't feeling as strong and powerful as he was used to and his complaints and requests for examination were either ignored entirely, brushed off with derision, or just given a perfunctory look. Despite being selected as starting pitcher for that year's All-star game, he'd soon complain of having a dead arm. The Houston media said J.R. was just moody, and they even went so far as to say he was jealous of Nolan Ryan, who'd become the first pro athlete to make $1,000,000 per year that season. Richard was seriously ill, but team trainers and physicians hadn't noticed the problem—a growing blood clot in his neck.

On July 14, 1980, he would pitch his final major league game. He started well and strong but left in the fourth inning due to complaints of blurry vision and numbness in his fingers. He was placed on the 21-day disabled list. On June 25, he was sent to Methodist Hospital in Houston, and despite obstructions in his arteries, it was determined that no surgery was needed. June 30 saw Richards having a practice throwing session at the Houston Astrodome—he tried to shake off the loud ringing in his ears but he soon collapsed on the AstroTurf, a victim of a stroke.

He would never recover from the stroke he had at the age of 30. The Houston television media apologized repeatedly for having questioned whether or not he was truly ill. He would win a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Houston Astros worth a huge sum of money, but he'd wind up homeless and living under a bridge just the same.

Nolan Ryan, who retired with 7 no-hitters and 12 one-hitters

Nolan Ryan, who retired with 7 no-hitters and 12 one-hitters

Nolan Ryan: "The Ryan Express"

Lynn Nolan Ryan, Jr. (born January 31, 1947), nicknamed "The Ryan Express," is without a doubt the single most successful and notable power pitcher in the history of major league baseball. As a 12-year-old boy, Nolan Ryan was someone I'd already heard of, and he went on to become the biggest legend in all of baseball. He was my hero then and even more so now.

Ryan came into the major leagues as a kid with a phenomenal right arm—and he left after a record 27 major league seasons, still throwing nearly 100 miles per hour. I saw Ryan start many times and witnessed him pitching at age 46. In his second to last career game as a starter, he was throwing fastballs at 96 miles per hour past bewildered men more than 20 years his junior.

Out of all the men gifted with the talent of pitching at 100 miles per hour, Nolan Ryan was the man who kept it the longest and used it the most. In his 27-year career, there is no doubt he threw more pitches over that speed than anyone else. Besides his legendary fastball, known as "The Ryan Express," he also had one of the best curve-balls in the history of the sport.

So how good was Nolan Ryan? Well, baseball is a game of statistics, and he has a huge number of dominating numbers—some of which will likely never be touched. First and foremost, Ryan struck out more batters than anyone with a record of 5,714. More impressive is his record of seven no-hitters. He allowed fewer hits per nine innings of pitching over his career than anyone, an average of 6.56. He held opposing batters to a lower batting average than anyone at .204 and he won 324 games despite pitching most of his career for losing ball teams. His season record of 383 strikeouts and his six seasons with more than 300 strikeouts are also very telling. There has never been a more intimidating pitcher than Nolan Ryan. Unless, of course, you face Randy Johnson.

Randy Johnson, feared by man and bird alike

Randy Johnson, feared by man and bird alike

Randy Johnson: The Big Unit

Randall David "Randy" Johnson (born September 10, 1963), nicknamed "The Big Unit," stood at 6'10". By the time he threw the ball, it seemed like his left arm was halfway to home plate. He also threw from a three-quarter position rather than straight over the top—if you were you a left-handed hitter, every pitch would seem aimed at your head.

When Johnson first made it to the big leagues, he had a wild and long mullet, a big burly mustache, and he stomped around on the mound in a very angry manner. He would then launch 100-mph pitches. This giant man had to have been the most frightening redneck to ever grace a pitcher's mound.

The Big Unit threw a no-hitter early in his career. A possibly even more impressive accolade was when he became the first left-handed pitcher to ever strike out Wade Boggs three times in one game. However, Johnson was still struggling quite a bit; he'd often walk so many batters that he'd lose the game. But Nolan Ryan had seen Johnson pitch and he knew the potential he had. Ryan scheduled a visit with Randy to show him some things that would change his career.

What Ryan suggested was that Randy focus where he'd land on his feet when throwing a ball, and soon Johnson would become a dominating pitcher. In a 1992 game, Johnson started against Ryan and the Texas Rangers and he got 18 strikeouts, winning the game.

Though Johnson did at times throw 100 miles per hour, he didn't do so as often as other pitching greats. His fastball wasn't even his best pitch. The Big Unit's devastating slider is what made him so lethal. He'd end his career second only to Nolan Ryan in strikeouts with 4,875, and he'd tie Nolan with six seasons in which he'd strike out 300 or more batters. He pitched two no-hit games, the second of which was the rare perfect game, a game where no batter reaches 1st base. Johnson's five Cy Young awards are second only to Roger Clemens in major league history.

In 2011, Justin Verlander threw his 2nd no-hitter, won AL Cy Young, and AL MVP.

In 2011, Justin Verlander threw his 2nd no-hitter, won AL Cy Young, and AL MVP.

Justin Verlander

Now if there is anyone remotely comparable in the big leagues today to the men discussed above, that man would be Justin Verlander. At just 30 years old, Verlander has already accomplished quite a bit and still has a lot left to deliver—which is a scary thought for any competitor.

In 2007, Justin Verlander pitched a no-hitter and finished the season with 18 wins, winning the American League rookie of the year award. With great years between 2009 and 2012, Verlander appears to be a mainstay ace. He has a fastball that can go anywhere from 94 to 102 miles per hour, and a big nasty curve-ball to go along with it. While his skill and attributes remind most fans of Nolan Ryan, his pitching motion (along with the outstanding fastball and curve-ball) is more reminiscent of another right-handed pitcher who once threw 100 miles per hour, Dwight Gooden.

How good is Verlander? He won a Cy Young award in 2011 as well as the triple crown of pitching in the American League; he led the league in strikeouts, in wins, and had the lowest earned run average. 2012 wasn't much of a drop off for Verlander and the coming years probably won't be either.

Closers: Wohlers, Feliz, Zumaya, and Chapman

If we're discussing who can throw the hardest, then why leave the relievers for last? Relief pitching is now a field all its own. In the days of Walter Johnson, all the way towards the end of Nolan Ryan's career, starting pitchers would start a game with the singular goal in finishing that game, and with a win.

Now, of course, it didn't always happen, that is why there has been relief pitching all along. Pitchers nowadays do not truly expect to finish a game they've started. Nobody in the major leagues has thrown more than 160 pitches in a game since the day Randy Johnson struck out 18 Texas Rangers in 1992.

When a closer is brought into a game, they are generally brought in during the 9th inning. They wait to air it out and they don't have to worry about their arms so much since they're not looking at nine innings, just one or two.

So how hard do these guys throw? At the top is Aroldis Chapman, the tall, thin, left-handed Cuban defector, who threw a pitch recorded at 105.1 miles per hour as a reliever for the Cincinnati Reds.

Just behind Chapman would be the very large Detroit right-handed closer, Joel Zumaya, who once threw a ball 104.8 miles per hour. This beat a speed recorded by Mark Wohlers, who tossed one at 103 miles per hour. Last but certainly not least, there is Neftali Feliz, who was clocked more recently in 2010 at 103.4, at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Conclusion: Throwing Heat

Now it is pretty obvious, with all the years and thousands of players to have played major league baseball, that I've left out some very relevant names, faces, and statistics. There is just too much to say and mention, so please accept my apologies for the players you feel were unfairly omitted.

Thanks for reading.

Questions & Answers

Question: What do you think about Ryne Duren from the Yankees?

Answer: An outstanding intimidating reliever and those thick glasses of his surely had a psychological impact on the scared batters. I'd be frightened too. Duren surely fits the bill and belongs in the 100 mph club.

Question: Is there a list of the 100 MOH pitchers?

Answer: There probably is one, but you would likely need to dig through at least the first 3 pages of Google's search results to find the most comprehensive one. Such a list would be growing in length constantly, as these days MLB scouts are specifically looking to draft the largest men possible, and expectations of high velocity are increasingly thought to be important.

Question: Who threw the fastest pitch?

Answer: You need to be more specific. Over the years various ways of measuring velocity have been used. What they use today is not what they used years ago.

Nolan Ryan has the record, all in all, and this was from Doppler Radar. His pitch was measured at 108.1 miles per hour.

With the equipment used today, the record is held by Aroldis Chapman, at 105.1 mph.

Question: Could Babe Ruth hit 100 mph pitches?

Answer: I'm sure he could. The competition in Major League Baseball is much tougher today because we've included not just African Americans, but virtually anyone in the world who can make it. But The Babe's stats show he could certainly compete well were he playing in today's era.

Question: How could you not include Sandy Koufax in the list of the hardest throwing pitchers?

Answer: While it is possible Koufax could hit 100 mph in his younger years, the fastest pitch he ever threw which was recorded was in the low 90s.

Koufax was obviously one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history, but his breaking balls were what was so devastating. Ernie Banks said Sandy's breaking pitches had more spin than anyone else's.


stanley wecker on September 06, 2020:

What was your opinion of Rube Waddell's pitching speed?

Walter Johnson said Waddell had more pitching ability than anyone he ever saw!

Waddell struck out 349 players in 1903(?) in an era when strkieouts were much rarer than in today's home run derbies.

Larry Hancock on August 22, 2020:

I face both Ryan and Dalkowski and it wasn't close. Dalkowski threw a lot harder than Ryan. We were playing in Bluefield West Virginia and there was a Coke sign above the press box behind home plate, Dalkowski threw a fast ball through the coke sign. Go ahead and laugh but you weren't standing in the batters box when the pitch went thirty feet over your head.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on April 09, 2020:

@Tim Cromble - are those on YouTube? If so, could you come back and give me a link?

I'm so freaking starved for baseball right now. Holy smoke, are we going to have a sane world again, and there must be baseball!

Tim Crombie on April 08, 2020:

I find it hard to believe that Koufax in his prime (1962-66) only threw 93 mph. He consistently led the league in strikeouts (a then record 382 in 1965), He did have a devastating curve but I think he also threw at least as fast as anyone else in the 1960's. There are two complete telecast games of him pitching in the 1965 world series. They are the best evidence of his speed.

bbigjohnson on November 22, 2019:


Nolan Ryan's next to last start was not at home in Arlington Stadium. It was against the Angels in Anaheim, CA. on Sept.17. I know because I was there along with over 60,000 other fans. Nice move by Kevin Kennedy when took him out after he threw his warm up pitches in the bottom of the 7th. We gave him a really great ovation as he walked of the mound. That game is on Youtube. His final start of his career was on the 22nd at Seattle when he blew out his arm in the 1st inning. His final start at home was on Sept.12th. I saw him pitch a few times when he was on the Angels. He took a no-hitter into the 9th but Reggie Jackson got a hit with 1 out. I think I saw him against the Dodgers when he was with Houston early 80s. I was their when the Angels retired his number and also just about every time he pitched against them in Anaheim. In 1989 he pitched 2 3-hit shutouts. In the second one at season's end he took a perfect game into the 8th inning before Brian Downing got a hit. In the 6th inning he struck out the side and from then on everyone was on his side for him to get it. I believe this might have been the only 9 inning shutout or game even that he didn't walk a batter. I was more a Dodgers fan but lived closer to the Big A and went there more often. I do remember JR Richard. I've never seen one pitcher dominate a team like he did the Dodgers for about 4-5 years. His slider was 96mph!

ocNEAL on September 09, 2019:

Walter "The Train" Johnson.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 21, 2019:

Hey Thanks, Jennifer. Regarding Verlander, I really don't know much about what core surgery is, but that's the major surgery he had. It is a longer recovery period for that than most.

I saw Verlander hitting 99 mph last season. I'm sure he could hit 100 any time he wanted to. He's got a nearly flawless delivery. I hope he pitches into his 40s.

Jennifer Halligan from NorCal on June 21, 2019:

I enjoyed this and loved that you included players from the past as well as current. Justin Verlander might be one of the greatest pitchers ever and to think in what? 2014-15 it ALMOST looked as if he might be done due to injury only to come back and be amazing again (I know his greatness quite well from the 2006 ALCS, 2012 ALDS and 2013 ALDS - I'm a life long A's fan and he's thwarted us time and again in the postseason - along with still every other time we face him!). On a different note, I didn't watch the video of Bob Feller but it would have been cool if you had written a bit more about him, given he could not only throw mad heat but pitched the only no-hitter ever on Opening Day. In 2015 Sonny Gray took one into the 8th but alas ... finished the game as a 2-hitter, which of course I was in attendance for (Braden's Perfect Game as well - but I am off topic as neither are 100 MPH pitchers) Anyway, thanks for the great read!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on June 11, 2019:

Thanks very much! I'll be watching my Texas Rangers play the Boston Red Sox, starting in an hour and a half.

Nobody on my team has hit 100 miles per hour yet this season, but we've got a couple guys who could do it, and I plan to be watching when it happens :)

Gupi on June 11, 2019:

Very interesting article, thank you for sharing. Some much fascinating history. Marvelous.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 26, 2019:

Thanks wpcooper! I'm excited for the new season. I try to watch as many games as I can, despite the fact my Texas Rangers aren't really expected to do much this year. It's the game itself, and the development of the players which excites me.

Finn from Barstow on March 25, 2019:

Some nice baseball history. A few of these I've never heard of - although I am not as much as a baseball fan as I used to be when I collected cards when I was younger.

I was saddened by the Astro's pitcher's story. Terrible they didn't find out what was going on with him. And a tragic end.

Great info on an amazing statistic - the 100 MPH pitch.

Subhas Mittra on September 27, 2018:

Wow! Enthralling! Great to know the human prowess and crossing the barriers.

Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on June 27, 2018:

Thanks for sharing the catalog of great masters.

Fourfather on May 25, 2018:

Was too young to have seen Koufax (sure wish I could have) Did see Gibson, Ryan, Palmer, Johnson, Carlton and many others. Goose was amazing with his windup and tailing fastball. Tom Seaver had an incredible fastball that his pitching contemporaries all talked about. Make no mistake, though - in his prime of just two years, I have never seen a more intimidating fastball than that thrown by J.R. Richard. He was TALL, LEAN and MEAN. His glare was storybook, his windup was incredible and seemed like his fastballs moved all over the place. Very sad what happened to him, He was on his way to a Sandy Koufax - like run for sure.

Dan W Miller on October 26, 2017:

Great article! Even the guys that aren't that well known like Richard and Dalk are honored.

I get so sick and tired of professional trolls like MRS. Wagner, Kevin Kelly (yeah, it was his SLIDER, bub, like you say! Duh! Fastballs we're talkin' here) and Dick Stanley (although, Goose IS a good example. But his fastball had movement.)

Gonna follow you and I believe you'll enjoy my hubs, also (even though HubPages will award a POPULAR ACCOLADE and after a year not list it for some bizarre reason. An MVP for a year IS STILL AN MVP THAT YEAR.)

You are allowed to follow me too, if you wish.



Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on August 18, 2017:

Hi Wesman - just revisiting this oldie over a beer. Hope all is well.

Dave (Paraglider)

Kevin Kelly on August 17, 2017:

Cannot belive Sandy Koufax was hardly mentioned at all. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Burbank, CA and was 9 years old when the Dodgers moved to LA. My Father (a Giants Fan) had Season Tickets at the L.A. Coliseum and subsequently Dodger Stadium. Who knows where Koufax would have been had he not retired from the game prematurely. He was absolutely unbelievable and one of a very few where you expected to see a No-hitter every time he pitched. I think Vin Scully invented a term for the batters who face a Koufax fastball or slider: the " jelly leg"!

Wagner on July 12, 2017:

The fact that your article does not mention Brian Wagner confounds me...

Bob Feller though... Greatest pro athlete ever?

Richard Stanley on November 25, 2016:

I never saw anyone Clemens included who threw as hard as Goose Gossage in his prime with New York during the Reggie years. I remember Cliff Johnson getting into fight with Goose because his catching hand was so damaged by Goose's heater. Longest tail on a fastball I ever saw.

Lori Gross from Nashville on August 17, 2016:

Great article! I enjoyed it very much. If you haven't seen it there is an excellent documentary on Netflix called "Fastball." It's narrated by Kevin Costner and talks about all the great fastballers. There are a lot of pitchers in it like Nolan Ryan, etc. It also talks about the advent of the radar gun and how they measured speed before that.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on February 02, 2016:

Thanks very much, Mr. Archer! Nolan was always my fave too - even though I never watched or liked baseball until 1986, when I was 12 years old.

Later when he came to the Texas Rangers I got to see him pitch in person at the old Arlington stadium a few times. I've one of his no-hitters on a vcr tape...too bad I've nothing to watch that with. I'm the type who wishes he could watch old baseball games from years ago.

I was at Arlington stadium for Nolan's second to last major league start - he was hitting 96 on the stadium radar gun that day, the last start before he tore his rotator cuff and retired.

Mr Archer from Missouri on February 02, 2016:

Ryan was, and still is, my favorite player. But I have to mention one that you didn't include: Satchel Paige. Per Hack Wilson his fastball "looked like a marble when it crossed the plate" and Dizzy Dean said his "fastball made his own look like a changeup". Beyond that, I know of no other to speak about. Great read here, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 31, 2014:

He was an amazing sample of a human in regards to the physical, that's for sure. No one but Nolan played that many one.

Josh Bennett from Illinois on May 31, 2014:

He is special for sure. Throwing that hard at that age is ridiculous.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 31, 2014:

jbennett3112 - I started watching MLB in 1986. I was 12 years old then...and I would see Nolan with the Astros screaming every time he threw a fastball, and cursing loudly if he disagreed with the umpire....stalking around the mound like a beast. I can't even express how happy I was when the Rangers got him, as I don't live too far out of Dallas - and I was there at his second to last MLB start, he was 46 years old, throwing regular 96 mph fastballs, and his cureveball was devastating.

Josh Bennett from Illinois on May 31, 2014:

Nolan Ryan was a bit before my time, but I agree that Clemens was special as well with his velocity, but i haven't seen anyone like Verlander or Champan (or Zumaya for that matter)

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 30, 2014:

jbennett3112 - same with Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, they seemed to often have more velocity at the end of games than the start.

Josh Bennett from Illinois on May 30, 2014:

With something like this , it is very important to include relievers. It's a feat to throw the ball over 103 mph. It doesn't matter if he's only throwing one inning or nine. People forget that Champman was a starter still throwing 100 mph late in the games in Cuba. That's also what makes Justin Verlander special as he has been clocked over 100 mph quite a few times late in games.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 30, 2014:

Not sure I agree entirely, Mark. I haven't had coffee yet so I'm not feeling too up to thinking a lot; but one thing for sure, fans like to see those impressive numbers, so there's likely some sales involved in it all.

Mark on March 29, 2014:

Nolan Ryan, in his prime with the Angels, got clocked at roughly 101 MPH measured only 10 feet in front of home plate. Mark Wohlers pitched for years on TBS and threw his better fastballs in the mid to upper 90's. Why did he, all of a sudden, start throwing pitches 103? Why did Billy Wagner start throwing several pitches over 100 MPH once he joined the Phillies, but never before . Because the modern guns that came out at that time measured the speed at the release, not down toward home plate. It has nothing to do with "airing it out". Pitchers have always "aired it out". It has to do with the reference point. And that is why they seem to throw harder as a group today. It's that simple.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 28, 2013:

You Know It!

Sunshine, if there were hardball leagues for people my age...amateur ones...I would be in heaven, and I wouldn't care what injuries I got in the process!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 28, 2013:

Batter up Wesman!!! This hub is a homerun!!!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 28, 2013:

FSlovenec , Thanks very very much! I've never got to meet a solitary player; but I sure enjoy the game!

Frank Slovenec from San Francisco, CA on May 28, 2013:

Well done I love the game, have been a fan since 1954 at age 5 in Cleveland. I met Bob Feller when I was young then again in 1994 at Cooperstown during the Reggie Jackson induction... great hub enjoyed the read

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on May 01, 2013:

RonElFran , Thanks very much!

Yes of course! Thing is...back in the days ...heck, even in the early 70's ...there just weren't many relievers, as everyone tended to just count on the starter going deep into the game, or pitching a complete game.

Nowadays...teams are terrified of their high dollar starting arms throwing many more than a hundred pitches.

There was a game once where Nolan Ryan threw nearly three hundred pitches...but probably that isn't the most in a game - I doubt they always kept track of how many pitches a pitcher threw.

It's always sad to me to see how so many come and go...people like Kerry Wood...and he's an example of someone who's arm was supposedly damaged by too many pitches in a game

Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on April 30, 2013:

I enjoyed reading this hub, although it was heart-breaking to see what happened to J. R. Richard. I never knew his story before now.

I suppose it's fair to include relievers, but I think the starters who had to pace themselves for a whole game deserve the lion's share of credit.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on April 28, 2013:

pick807 - Thanks very much!

Statistical joy in Baseball! Yep! WWII sure screwed it up some...but made the stats more interesting!

pick807 on April 28, 2013:

Interesting hub. I always think about what could have been with guys like Bob Feller and Ted Williams. I voted this hub up.

Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on March 03, 2013:

In the old days, they only wore leg pads, gloves and the vital 'box' or genital protector. But nowadays helmets are always worn too.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Hey Paraglider! I'd love to be a Cricket man! Thing is....I've never seen it played or televised in the USA...I know it is similar to baseball in some ways, but that is all I know!

I hope those guys are wearing helmets and the other protection needed!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Hey Tom, I was going to ask you about that - Chapman starting, I mean. I'm hoping that our Feliz comes back from surgery know...after Tommy John Surgery...often times guys actually GAIN velocity on their fastball!

That means Feliz would be right there with Chapman if it works out...and also, I think the Rangers still plan to turn Feliz into a starter!!!!

Cool deal seeing Koufax pitch! I got to see Nolan a few times over the three seasons he played with Texas - we used to go as a family quite a bit back then.

That damned Josh Hamilton is likely to hit 50 home runs this year!

justom from 41042 on March 03, 2013:

OK fucker I'm back, damn you guys. I not only got to see Koufax pitch at Crosley Field but he played college ball where? The University of Cincinnati! And I only lived 2 blocks from there so I saw him pitch there before the majors. I really do gotta' stop :-P

Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on March 03, 2013:

Hi Wesman - I guess you're not a cricket man, but for a long time the fastest ever cricket bowler was a Wes- Wes Hall (Wesley) of the West Indies, credited with 105 mph deliveries. But the truth is that nobody really knew before the technology was there, to measure accurately. I'm not sure the weight of a baseball? but a cricket ball, at five and a half ounces, and hard as a stone (give or take the leather skin), is not something to stop with your body!

Nice hub :)

justom from 41042 on March 03, 2013:

WTF man? You ain't supposed to be writin' a baseball hub before me :-) I'm watchin' pre season and World BB Classic on MLB today. Less than 1 month man and I'm fired up too. We got rid of some dead weight in the off season and picked up a good lead off hitter and Chapman might be starting this year which has been the plan all along. We got a guy in the minors (Louisville) named Billy Hamilton that's probably gonna' be up next year that you will hear about if you haven't already. Hits over .300 great obp and has broken stolen base records everywhere. Last year he got the AA record can't remember the exact # but it was well over 100. Hahaha!! I gotta' stop man, it's your fault though. Go Reds!! Go Rangers!! Go baseball (except the Cardinals, fuck them :-) Good hub, I've gotten to see some of those guys pitch. See there I go again. OUT!!!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Kenja - YES SIR! ..and THANK YOU!

It's pretty certain Sandy Koufax could throw that hard too - I remember reading that when he came up he was known for a monster fastball, but he couldn't find the strike zone...and after a while someone convinced him to take something off of it...and there you go - someone who was the equal of Bob Feller and Nolan Ryan for many a season!

Nolan Ryan, in my opinion...had that combination of freakishly terrific genetics, and the added virtue of ...working his butt off to play as long as he possibly could!

Ken Taub from Long Island, NY on March 03, 2013:

Great overview of the greatest pitchers, Wes. I also appreciate the chess-like mastery of Sandy Koufax. But I agree, there is Nolan Ryan, and then everyone else. How in God's name can a human arm throw so hard for so long and not just fall off? Great Hub! Ken

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

torrilynn - Thanks very much! I can hardly wait for the season to get started!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Paul Kuehn - thanks very much! I'll have to check a Wiki for Herb Score.

Here we go!

"In 1955, Score came up to the Major Leagues (with Colavito) as a rookie with the Cleveland Indians at the age of 21. He quickly became one of the top power pitchers in the American League, no small feat on a team that still included Bob Feller, Bob Lemon and other top pitchers, going 16–10 with a 2.85 Earned Run Average (ERA) in his first year. He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine on May 30, 1955.

Score struck out 245 batters in 1955, a Major League rookie record that stood until 1984, when it was topped by Dwight Gooden (Score, Gooden, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Don Sutton, Gary Nolan, Kerry Wood, Mark Langston and Hideo Nomo were the only eight rookie pitchers to top 200 strikeouts in the 20th century). It was the first time in MLB history a regular starting pitcher averaged over one strikeout per inning.[2] In 1956, Score improved on his rookie campaign, going 20–9 with a 2.53 ERA and 263 strikeouts, while reducing the number of walks from 154 to 129, and allowed only 5.85 hits/9 innings, which would stand as a franchise record until it was broken by Luis Tiant's 5.30 in 1968."

What blew me away was it said he got run over by a truck when he was three years old!

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 03, 2013:

Vellur - thanks very much! As I'm near Dallas, Texas - we're all waiting to see what our Neftali Feliz can do when he returns from his surgery later this year!

torrilynn on March 03, 2013:

Hi WesmanToddShaw,

thanks for the well put together hub

that you have here; it really shows your

love of baseball and the passion that you

have for the sport. Thanks for sharing.

Voted up

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on March 02, 2013:

This is an awesome hub and I really enjoyed reading it. All of the players you have listed were or are still very hard throwers. I remember Bob Feller as a young kid when he was in the twilight of his career with the Indians. Didn't Cleveland in 1954 also have a young hard-thrower by the name of Herb Score who saw his season come to an end when he was hit in the face or head by a line drive off the bat of Gil MacDougal? Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 02, 2013:

An interesting read, great write. I know the game baseball and how it is played. Never knew so much, informative and interesting hub. Voted up.

Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on March 02, 2013:

Jools99 - Thanks very very much! Yeah, I'd have loved to have been able to find some video of Dalkowski, but I don't guess there is any out there anywhere.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on March 02, 2013:

Great hub! I am also looking forward to the season getting underway. I thought the story of Dalkoswki was very poignant - to have that kind of heat and talent and never make it to the show! Shared etc, loved it!