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Newspaper Page Text
BASEBALL'S TOUGHEST PROBLEM THE SPIT BAtll
Ed -Walshs spit ball grip.
Thi ball "breaks toward the thumb,
What do, you .know about, th
SRit ball, Mr! Baseball Fan ? j
You have, seen, t pitched. a
fhniisand times and know llOW eft
fective'it is when the pitcher haf
control. You nave seen catcners
stop the elusive ball with their
shins and kneecaps and have
watched batters whale at it in
Can you say why the spit "ball
acts as it does? ,
Collier's tries to explain vthe
mystery of the spit ball" Whe th
ef it has succeeded is a question.
The following is part of what
Will Irwin says on the subject in
Ed -Walsh, greatest spit-bailer,
doesn't know why the ball acts so
queerly. .He practices and experiments-
and repeats the motions
Which produce the effect.
Princeton University scien
tists say it is a new phenomenon
The spit ball pitcher wets a
small spot on the ball with saliva,
carefully fitting two fingers oyer
the wet spot. He throws the ball
with all speed straight toward the
Christy Matfiewsbn, Russell
Ford,' "Doc" White and .other
brainy pitchers have a theory,
which Irwin, believes, after
months of investigation, deserves
consideration, though it is not accepted-by
the. scientists he con
sulted. ' It is that the ball, because of
the wet surface, does not spin.
A spinning ball bores into the
air, edging the molecoles aside.
The spit ball, traveling "dead,"
accumulates an air-cushion ahead.
When it "feels" this pressure it
seeks the line of least resistance,
jumping into free air,catfsing that
curious break. The momentary
pause lets gravitation draw the
ball earthward. .
The exact direction of the
downward break is determined by
the position of the seam at the in
sta'nt of the break, the ball shoot
ing from thegreatest smooth sur
face it presents to the air cushion.
(See diagranp.) So much for the
spit ball of the- ordinary pitcher
who does not knowhow the ball
Like the spit ball, the "knuckle
ball" and slow ball da not spin. In(