Lost Pictures–The Mechanical Pitcher

20 Jul


Another in the long line of attempts to create a commercially viable pitching machine, this one from 1910.  The syndicated photograph from the Underwood & Underwood Bureau:

“It has remained for a sailor to add the newest thing to base ball.  P.H.Link, warrant officer, on duty at the Annapolis naval academy, is the man for whom is claimed an invention which comes nearer perfection than any other mechanical device intended to replace the pitcher.

“Link’s invention is in the form of a gun.  It is operated by compressed air and the ball can be controlled so that all speeds, from the most leisurely floater to the fast ball of Christy Mathewson, can be used at will.

By means of a strap which Link is shown winding around the sphere, the ball can be curved accurately.  Curves of eight feet have been fired.  Mounted upon a swivel the gun can be pointed in any direction, vertical or horizontal.

“In operating the gun the preliminary motions of the pitcher are gone through with, and as the hand shoots out, the finger touches a trigger, which releases the ball.  This gives the batter time to get set, something no other mechanical pitching devices provide for”

Like the Princeton Pitching Gun 13 years earlier, the mechanical pitcher and its inventor quickly faded into obscurity.


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