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Old 04-24-2020, 10:03 PM
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Jeff Lichtman is offline
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R.I.P. Steve Dalkowski


Steve Dalkowski, who may have had the fastest fastball in baseball history, has died at the age of 80. The character of Nuke Laloosh in the movie Bull Durham is supposed to have been based on him. You can read about him here.

Dalkowski never made the majors because, while his fastball was nearly unhittable, he couldn't throw it for strikes. While pitching for Stockton in 1960 he struck out 262 batters in 170 innings, but also walked 262. His walks per inning was higher than most pitchers' WHIP.

When Earl Weaver was managing in the minors in 1964, he decided to give IQ tests to all his players. According to Bill James, Weaver discovered that Dalkowski's IQ was well below average. Weaver decided to simplify his coaching of Dalkowski, telling him to throw only the fastball and slider, and to throw strikes. He told him this over and over, and Dalkowski had his best season, with 141 strikeouts, 62 walks, and an ERA of 2.83 in 108 innings. Unfortunately, Dalskowski injured his arm not long after that, and he was never the same again.
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Old 04-25-2020, 05:06 PM
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As a tribute to Dalkowski, I present this quote from Bull Durham:

"You slept with Annie? Great, that's great, you're gonna have a great year. So is she, ah, as good as they say?"
"...No, man, we didn't fuck. Nah, she sat and read poetry to me all night; it was more tiring than fucking."
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Old 04-25-2020, 05:53 PM
installLSC is offline
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The story of Steve's life is way wilder (and often sadder) than the movie. Here's an old profile of him in Sports Illustrated. Oddly enough, on the one time he was tested with a pitching machine he only got up to 93.5 mph.
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by installLSC View Post
The story of Steve's life is way wilder (and often sadder) than the movie. Here's an old profile of him in Sports Illustrated. Oddly enough, on the one time he was tested with a pitching machine he only got up to 93.5 mph.
Mentioned in the story.
Quote:
In 1958 the Orioles took Dalkowski to the
Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Grounds to measure his heater. The
experiment did not go well. Dalkowski had pitched the night
before and was throwing from a flat surface rather than a mound.
Worse, he spent a maddening 40 minutes trying to throw the ball
through a laser beam emanating from a metal box about the width
of the plate. When he finally got the ball through the laser, the
pitch clocked in at 93.5 mph, and everyone went home.
The fact that Ted Williams heard one pitch and refused to ever face him again speaks volumes.
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