Bob Locker: Former RHP Several Teams 1972 World Series Oakland A's


1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

 In HS I was more over the top, I would throw a little harder from there but it was straight and very hittable. Would start to experiment moving arm to 3/4 and then eventually some sidearm. Had more movement from there. Over the top felt like an unnatural motion to me. In college my coach noticed I was struggling throwing consistent strikes and was always missing up in the zone. Fooled around and really worked on mastering a good sinker to keep the ball down. Eventually found that from lower arm slot was able to get the sinker that I wanted and stayed there. 


2. What are some of the advantages you had from your arm angle?

The higher up you get in the baseball ranks, it's those righty-righty, lefty-lefty match ups that give you a big advantage. For hitters it's intimidating to face guys that throw from there coming from the same side. From the lower slot you are going to be able to get some natural movement that can be tricky to get over the top. That good sinking action inside to a righty. All hitters have a hole in their swing and feel can be easier to find at from there with your movement. Expose the hitters when you find their hole/weakness and stay there til they adjust. I was traded to the A's because the hitters on the team had told their manager they hated facing me. 

3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?

If I were to continue over the top not sure if would have made it after college. Didn't have that mid 90's fastball and when I did throw hard it was flat. Even with high 90's if it is flat pro hitters can time that up easily and take it a long ways. With hitters swinging on a level plane with your sinking movement it's gonna be a ground ball. I don't think I 've ever seen someone hit a home run by hitting the top half of the baseball.

4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?

Absolutely do it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Experiment with different arm angles, find what is natural for you and your body type. If I were a pitching coach now I would definitely be more open to it. It's less stress on the arm and I believe the lower you go, the less stress you will have on it. You need a strong mid-section if going to do it. 

5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

I would say it is a lot easier to properly rotate your hips from there because it is a more natural motion. I think from the lower angle you did need to throw across your body a bit to generate some velocity from there. Helps to load up that 'spring' in your body. You want to think of a bow and arrow or a rubber band pulling back and then ready to release. One thing I think that is a common problem is that pitchers/coaches think you need to have your eyes on the target all the way through which isn't true. A lot of guys back in the day would look at 2B during windup and then pick up the catcher at the last minute. It's more natural to do that, always your body to be free instead of forcing head to watch target all the way. Don't restrict your motion by picking up the plate all the way through. Baseball has always been pitched from 60'6 and even after a lot of repetitions even a blind man should be able to throw strikes. You just become more aware of your body and need to be. For me I tried to hold onto ball longer to get good sinker and I would shorten my stride. 


6. What pitches did you throw?

I was a sinker/slider pitcher and change speeds with them. One piece of advice I would give is not to overthrow your bread and butter pitch. I was given some bad advice to not get hit with your second best pitch so would over throw my best pitch which I think hurt me. 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Righties- They were intimidated by me, they couldn't see the ball coming out. I would try and stay In&Down….Lefties-Most LH hitters are better In&Down hitters so would have to work on elevating the baseball more so Up&In. Would also mix in a change with them.  With all hitters when pitching from sidearm/submarine at least if you make a mistake down middle there is going to still be some movement so don't have to be so fine with your pitchers. It's more about the ball movement than hitting certain locations.


8. Lastly what was your favorite part about pitching from down there?

I was fortunate enough to make the MLB coming from a small town in Iowa. It was a very good feeling to see hitters give up when facing me. They would lose confidence when coming up to the plate to face me.