In the hardest-throwing era Baseball has ever seen, the Cincinnati Red’s Aroldis Chapman wears the ubiquitous crown of â€śFastest Pitcher in Baseball.â€ť But is this flame-throwing reliever the hardest throwing slinger in the history of the sport?
The answer, statistically, is yes. Unofficially, though, it’s a whole different story. With such an old game, it’s impossible to avoid a few myths and legends. And there are certainly a few about who really holds the title of the Fastest Pitcher in History.
Technically speaking, Reds’ reliever Chapman has recorded two of the top 10 fastest pitches ever recorded in MLB history. Late last year he made history when he threw 25 pitches to end a game against San Diego, all of which were over 100 mph. But it was batter Tony Gwynn who was treated with Chapman’s biggest throw of the night, a 105.1 mph fastball that holds the record to this day.
Still, there are some old timers who would argue that there was one man who possibly threw harder than today’s champ, and that man was a little known minor-leaguer named Steve Dalkowski. Nicknamed â€śWhite Lightningâ€ť for the blazing speed of his pitches, Dalkowski lived and played in an era without accurate pitch speed measurement, and so his top speed was never clocked. Some experts, however, believed he threw as hard as 115 mph! Never making the big-leagues for his perennial lack of control, Dalko still holds the record for most batters walked and struck out during an inning. After facing him in a spring game, famed Boston Red Sox hitter Ted Williams looked physically shaken up.
“Fastest ever,” said Williams. “I never want to face him again.”
Sadly, we’ll never know what speeds â€śWhite Lightningâ€ť ever reached. But he’ll always be remembered as the inspiration for Tim Robbins’ character in Bull Durham. Rest assure, though, there’s no lack of power throwing in the Major Leagues today! Here’s the top ten list of the fastest baseball pitches ever recorded in the MLB.
Fastest Recorded MLB Pitches
2010 Aroldis Chapman (Reds) 105.1 mph
2006 Joel Zumaya (Tigers) 104.8 mph
2010 Aroldis Chapman (Reds) 104 mph
1995 Mark Wohlers (Braves) 103 mph
2002 Armando Benitez (Mets) 102 mph
2009 Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers) 102 mph
2010 Neftali Feliz (Rangers) 102 mph
2005 Bobby Jenks (White Sox) 102 mph
2004 Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks) 102 mph
2007 Matt Lindstrom (Marlins) 102 mph
What do you think of today’s flame-throwers? Experts say that the human body restricts throwing a ball much over 100 mph, but the pitches keep getting faster and faster. How long will Chapman’s record stand? Well the Red’s reliever almost broke his own record a few weeks ago with an unbelievable 106 mph pitch, but conflicting readings on different speedometers nullified the pitch. Let me know what you think in the comment section!