Eephus Bill "Spaceman" Lee

An Eephus pitch is one of the kinds of pitch in baseball. It is a very high-arching pitch that is off-speed. When the pitcher delivers it, it has very slow velocity, so that hitter or the batter gets usually caught off-guard.

Who Invented It?

The baseball player who invented the Eephus pitch is Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He created the pitch sometime in the 1940s. Some said, however, that Bill Phillips was the first pitcher to start the big blooper pitch. He did such a pitch from the 1890s thru 1903 on and off. It wasn’t constant, so he was not credited for it. Sewell practiced it and resurrected it.

Accordingly, Eephus means nothing in Hebrew. The Hebrew word for it is efes. Although Rip Sewell invented the pitch, the person who named the pitch was outfielder Maurice Van Robays, per Pirates manager Frankie Frisch’s statement.

How It’s Done

The Eephus pitch gets done through an overhand, just like most pitches done by the pitcher. However, it is unusual because of its high-arching trajectory. In some ways, it looks like a slow-pitch softball delivery.

The Eephus pitch is considered a trick pitch since it gets done in slow motion when compared to standard baseball pitches. So, the batter will most likely bat even before the ball makes contact or bat a few seconds late.

The First Time It Was Used

Sewell used the first time that the Eephus pitched was during a game against Boston Braves at the Boston Field on June 1, 1943. Sewell was already experimenting and practicing the Eephus pitch even before that game. Sewell then used it often and won 20 games with the Eephus pitch.

Other Players Who Used Eephus Pitch

Bill “Spaceman” Lee threw one Eephus pitch when he played for the Boston Red Sox during Game 7 of the 1975 World Series. However, the pitch was not successful. This was because Tony Perez was able to hit it, resulting in a two-run home run. The Red Sox lost that game and likewise lost the opportunity to get their first World Series championship since 1918.

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