Keri: Taking a trip through Major League Baseball’s film and video archive

From Jonah Keri at on February 11, 2015:

The first image you see is Dazzy Vance — a tight shot of the right-handed flamethrower, twisting his body in an exaggerated windup, then firing a pitch in super-slow motion.

The camera cuts to Ty Cobb, standing at home plate, feet shoulder-width apart, clutching the bat with his trademark split-handed grip, top hand choked way up. He lunges toward the pitch, stretching so far forward that his left knee nearly hits the ground.

Then, the Babe himself. Ruth rocks on his back foot, eye on the ball, waiting to explode into his terrifying home run swing. He pops one pitch up, rolls over on another, and fouls a third one back — always looking like he might corkscrew himself into the ground through the force of his swing.

At last, we land inches from the face of Walter Johnson. The Big Train looks like he’s exerting almost no effort, as he sidearms the ball toward the plate. As his 3,509 strikeout victims knew, when Johnson slingshots a pitch toward you, you’re a dead duck.

Put all these images together, and you have two minutes and 28 seconds of breathtaking footage, extreme close-ups of four of the greatest players of all time.

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Originally published: February 11, 2015. Last Updated: February 11, 2015.