Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/513

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481
AMERICA'S NATIONAL GAME

very important innovation or the time of its first presentation.

As a matter of fact, from the time of the adoption of regular playing rules by the old Knickerbockers, changes in the technique of Base Ball have been remarkably few in number as compared with the great advances in skill and science of play. The ball has been recently improved, but is still of practically the same size and weight. Bats are substantially of the same form and material as at the beginning of professional Base Ball. The masks and gloves and mitts have been somewhat bettered in material and workmanship, and uniforms and shoes are better; but the same general quality of fabric and fashion are yet employed in their making.

In one department of the game, however, the change has been very marked. Pitching has undergone a complete revolution. Indeed, the word "pitching," which was properly applied to the act of ball delivery at first, is to-day a misnomer. The ball as now presented to the batsman is not pitched, but thrown. Whereas, in the early days, it left the pitcher's hand with a peculiar snap of the wrist from an unbent elbow, and below the hip, now it may be hurled in any manner at the pitcher's option.

Perhaps at this point it may be of interest to consider briefly the causes that resulted in the change from the old-time straight arm pitch to the present unrestricted delivery of the ball. First, then, it must be conceded that the method employed at the beginning was never acquired by many men. It seemed to be a natural gift to a few players in the early seventies and before,