Ross Ohlendorf made his debut for the Washington Nationals last night, and he pitched a fantastic ball game. Ohlendorf tossed six complete innings, giving up just two hits and one run in his first start of the season – a fill-in while Stephen Strasburg remains on the disabled list.
But no one is talking about Ohlendorf’s win…none of us can talk about anything but that beautiful old-school delivery of his that was on display last night. Take a look.
Ohlendorf’s windup has been described as a “confluence of moving parts” by James Wagner of the Washington Post. The delivery is new this season. Ohlendorf adopted it at the suggestion of a Pirates coach when he played for Pittsburgh last season. Wagner describes the motion as follows:
“He stands with his back foot near the third base side of the rubber, rocks on his left foot and swings both arms back behind his body.”
Watching Ohlendorf got me thinking about other modern pitchers with vintage deliveries. My mind went directly to Paul Byrd, who’s wind up was also a nod to the old golden age of baseball. Here’s a clip of Byrd from 2007.
Byrd stood with his back foot on the far first base side of the rubber. He, too, rocked his off foot backward and swung both arms behind his body before delivering each pitch.
In trying to find other clips to share, we found this instructional video featuring Cleveland Indians legend Bob Feller.
Ohlendorf’s and Byrd’s deliveries don’t differ that much from that of Feller’s. With Fathers Day coming this weekend, I wonder how many dads out there will be playing catch with their sons and showing them the old backward arm swing?