A professional pitcher completed a perfect game throwing underhand
Tom Gheen proved there’s more to pitching than velocity.
Gheen, a minor league hurler in the 1920s, used an underhand delivery to deceive opponents. The Lincoln County News called him “the underhand curve-ologist” in a 1922 article.
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He wound up and arced the ball underhand with great accuracy and astonishing movement, baffling batters and humoring fans along the way.
Gheen’s greatest feat came on April 26, 1922, when he pitched a perfect game for Class C Winston-Salem against Greensboro. A professional pitcher tossed a perfect game while throwing underhand. Imagine that.
“Gheen Has Niche In the Hall of Fame; Pitched No-Hit, No-Run Game,” the following day’s Twin-County Sentinel headlined. “Every inning with Greensboro at the bat was exactly like the one before, three men up and three quickly retired,” the newspaper recapped. Gheen had five strikeouts in his historic performance.
Gheen couldn’t consistently repeat that day’s effectiveness, in fact the perfect game was his only win of the 1922 season. He lobbed his way through seven minor league seasons but never cracked the majors.
Pitching underhand wasn’t a gimmick for Gheen, it was his preferred style. He was mentioned in newspapers across the country for his unorthodox technique.
So, if Gheen was able to throw a perfect game while pitching underhand, why haven’t others at least experimented with his strategy? An MLB umpire confirmed pitching underhand is allowed.
Tim Hagerty is the broadcaster for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas, and is on Twitter at @MinorsTeamNames. He is also the author of “Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball’s Most Off-the-Wall Team Names.”
Article Found At – Sporting News