Dave Baldwin: Former MLB pitcher, Senators, Brewers and White Sox


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

Dave Baldwin tells you his story of dropping down to a side arm pitcher in chapter 11 of his own book called Snake Jazz which can be read here. For more information or to purchase the entire book visit his website at www.snakejazz.com


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

1) Much easier on the shoulder than a three-quarter or overhand delivery, 2) By varying the arm angle I could change the spin angle of the ball, and that changes the direction of deflection of the pitch, 3) Batters don’t see many sidearm/submarine pitchers so it takes them some time to adjust to the angles, 4) I discovered that once I refined the coordination of the snap of the hips with the landing of the front foot, my pitches had greater velocity than they had when I was throwing overhand.


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

My career was just about over when I made the switch out of desperation. I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it to the majors if I hadn’t changed.


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

Try both a sidearm and a submarine delivery while throwing to a catcher who can give you good feedback. If you don’t feel free and easy or if the pitches don’t have good movement, perhaps the change isn’t a good idea.


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

The snap of the hips should pull your torso, shoulder, and arm around during the delivery. The hips are spring-loaded by the forward momentum of the body during the forward stride. The hips and torso should have a great deal of potential energy accumulated from that stride. When that energy is released the core of the body turns very suddenly. Pitching is a matter of hand speed rather than power. The faster the pitching hand moves, the faster the pitch and the faster the spin rate of the ball. By the way, the hand should pass close to the body during the delivery – if the arm is extended, the pitch loses velocity. (Note that a figure skater who wants to slow her spin will extend her arms to do so.)


6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw a sinking fastball, a big roundhouse curve, two speeds of screwball, a rising fastball (sort of a slider thrown submarine) up and in on left-handers (I’m right-handed), and two change ups – a palmball and a cheap knuckler.


7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

I threw mostly sinkers and curves to right-handers. Occasionally a rising fastball up and in. To left-handers: sinkers, screwballs, rising fastballs, and change ups.


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

It gave me so many more options for pitches. Even a slight change in arm angle changes the spin axis, thereby changing the direction of the movement of the pitch. That gives the batter a lot of different movement possibilities to look for. Also, low deliveries were easy on my arm. When I retired from pro ball at the age of 36 my arm still felt good.