Sunday, February 18, 2007


Babe Ruth, still the most recognized name in the history of baseball, was a great pitcher before he ever gained fame as a homerun hitter.

I’m sure he threw like a girl.

The strongest throwing arms in baseball are in right field. In my lifetime, Roberto Clemente was the most feared right fielder. He threw like a girl.

Everyone who ever made a dime playing baseball threw like a girl, not all the time, but during the development of their overhand throwing motions, they all passed through a stage we call “throwing like a girl.”

This was the message of two M.D. visitors to the Today (morning TV) show I just happened to be watching because I’m a lazy bum. (This was twenty years ago, lazy bumness was a developmental stage.)

These two nice men were pushing their new general-readership book on child development. Their overall message to parents was “relax, it’s only a phase.”

To illustrate their point in the 4.5 minutes allotted. They talked about the phenomenon “throws like a girl.” Apparantly many dads get all upset when they see their sons “throwing like a girl.”

These nice doctors explained that there are developmental stages in throwing a ball that all kids must go through before they can throw like a competent baseball player. This is why we are so confident that Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Cy Young all through like a girl at some point.

My researchers are letting me down. I’m not finding illustrations. Here is my recollection of the stages.

1. Pushes the ball away.
2. Two handed underhand push.
3. Underhand throw with knee flex.
4. (A bunch of stages I can’t remember)
5. Overhand feet stationary.
6. Overhand, throwing-hand-side foot steps forward. (This is “throws like a girl.”)
7. Overhand, opposite foot steps forward. (This is “throws like a boy.”)
8. (Additional developments are enhancements of number 7.)

The soldier in the poster above is actually throwing like a boy.
The doctors point out that “throws like a girl” is the stage immediately before “throws like a boy.”

So many boys are ridiculed when they “throw like a girl,” that they avoid throwing altogether, and for the rest of their lives, if they were ever called upon to throw a ball, would throw it like a girl.

Even now I’m impressed that these two grown men would be concerned about the feelings of young boys who are ridiculed for the way they throw a ball.

This pain, and for some men lifelong embarrassment, is totally unnecessary.

According to the doctors, when a dad sees his little boy “throwing like a girl,” instead of worrying, the dad should tell the kid, “You throw just like Roger Clemons did at your age.”

Richard Rodgerson, could have been one of the men on the show. He's a researcher in the field of developmental kinesiology. Here's his bio.

----- o -----

No comments: