The forkball is one of the rarest types of pitch in baseball. It is characterized by the ball taking a sharp downward break as it approaches the plate before it’s able to reach the catcher’s mitt. It is best utilized by pitchers to make batters swing and miss, which is why it’s often used as the finishing shot in an at bat.
How Does a Pitcher Throw a Forkball?
To throw a forkball, the pitcher holds the baseball between the first two fingers of their hand and throws the ball hard with a wrist-snapping motion. The torque involved in this wrist action is very taxing on the pitcher, which is why forkballs have been known to be a common cause of significant damage to the elbows and shoulders of pitchers who regularly use this type of pitch. For this reason, it is recommended that younger players avoid attempting to pitch forkballs until they have reached the age of around 17 to 18.