What Is The Fastest Possible Baseball Pitch?

What Is The Fastest Possible Baseball Pitch

The ways to measure how fast a pitch is thrown have changed drastically over time. Pitch speed was measured by speeding motorcycles one century ago. The first radar gun didn’t come around until roughly 40 years ago, but its use was not as reliable as it is today. With modern technology, the fastest pitch that was recorded was thrown at 105.8 mph by Aroldis Chapman. What are some of the fastest pitches in the history of MLB? How has this changed over time?

Fastest Recorded Pitch in MLB History

The fastest recorded pitch in MLB history was thrown by Aroldis Chapman on September 24, 2010, during a game between Chapman’s Cincinnati Reds and the San Diego Padres, and was clocked at 105.8 mph. The pitch was thrown at PETCO Park in San Diego, California, and was recorded by Statcast, which had been recording MLB pitch velocities since 2008.

Fastest Pitch Possible in Baseball

It is hard to say what the fastest possible baseball pitch is, but it is very likely around 105-110 mph. With that said, it is nearly impossible to physically throw pitches at speeds of 110 mph without causing major ligament damage. The force required to throw a ball that fast would likely cause damage to ligaments and tendons. There are pitchers that have recorded pitch speeds only a few miles per hour lower, though.

Pitch Speed Measurement Technology

Major League Baseball has had the same measuring system since 2006, but prior to that, many technologies were used to measure pitch speed. Walter Johnson was widely considered to be one of the hardest throwers during the early 1900s, and he was the first person to have his pitch speed measured. The two-time MVP had his pitches raced against a speeding motorcycle. It was originally estimated that Johnson could throw a ball at 97 miles per hour.

A few decades later, Bob Feller had his pitches measured using a lumiline chronograph. This proved to be relatively unreliable, though, as his pitch speeds varied drastically. One pitch was measured as fast as 107.6 mph, but the technology was not as accurate. Other pitchers, like Nolan Ryan, were also measured at high velocities.

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman has the fastest pitch on record, as he threw a baseball 105.1 miles per hour in 2010, although that number was later bumped up to 105.8 mph. In a game against the San Diego Padres, the reliever threw a pitch to Eric Young Jr. that lit up the radar gun. Chapman hit 105.1 mph on the radar in 2016 as a member of the Yankees as well. In 2011, another Chapman pitch was originally marked at 106 mph on a pitch that was up and inside to former MVP Andrew McCutchen. That pitch was later corrected to 102.4 miles per hour.

The previous record for fastest pitch had been held by Joel Zumaya, who threw a pitch at 104.8 miles per hour for the Tigers in 2006. Chapman signed with the Royals for the 2023 season. In his first game for Kansas City, Chapman threw the fourth-fastest pitch in the franchise’s history.

Fastest MLB Pitches Today

Aroldis Chapman is not the only pitcher in baseball who can throw fast. Jordan Hicks touched 105 mph in 2018 for the Cardinals. The fastest pitch of the 2022 season was thrown by Hicks’ teammate, Ryan Presley. The reliever pitched a fastball at 104.2 mph in a September game against Milwaukee. Meanwhile, Minnesota Twins rookie Jhoan Duran had the fastest average fastball in 2022, clocking in at 100.8 mph.