Japanese Pitcher Kazuhito Tadano Masters The Eephus Pitch
It was 10 years ago when 20-year old Japanese right-handed pitcher Kazuhito Tadano made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cleveland Indians. He pitched mostly in the bullpen and appeared in one game in 2005 before being sent the the Minor Leagues. He returned to Japan three years later and has pitched for Nippon Ham of the Japanese Pacific League ever since.
One pitch that Tadano has clearly mastered in his repertoire is the famed Eephus pitch. The very low speed, junkball pitch is often seen in a high arcing trajectory with a peak of around 25 feet. The origin of the pitch dates back to the 1940’s when Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Maurice Van Robays named the high arcing lob to the plate by teammate Rip Sewell. When asked by his manager why he called it an eephus pitch, Van Robays said “Eephus ain’t nothing, and that’s a nothing pitch.”
More than 70 years later, Tadano still uses the eephus pitch during games. Check out this video from this weekend when Tadano dropped a perfect eephus pitch right over the plate. Apparently the pitch fooled everyone, from the batter to even the umpire.
This was not the first time that Tadano used his special weapon in a pro baseball game. Here is one from a Triple-A game in 2007.
Tadano did it again about five years later in Japan. The pitch almost reminds you of a slow pitch softball game.