Baseball

You’ve seen Clayton Kershaw’s ridiculously slow curve, but what exactly is an ‘eephus?’

AP

You may already have seen Clayton Kershaw use that 46-mph knee-buckler Thursday that had Atlanta Braves catcher Tyler Flowers backing out of the box before the pitch had crossed the plate.

Kershaw already has one of the best curveballs in the game, adding this pitch into the mix is a scary thought for the National League.

It’s known as the “eephus.” But what exactly does that mean, and where does the name come from?

An eephus or “moonball” is a junk pitch that is even slower than a curveball, although has the same movement and is usually 60 mph or less. It’s not certain where the name comes from, but some believe it stems from the Hebrew word for “nothing.” Pitchers have been throwing it since the 1940s, and it is thought to have been invented by Rip Sewell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. And there’s some interesting video out there of when it’s worked -- and when, well, not so much.

Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez made the mistake of throwing two in a row to A-Rod once:

Carlos Villanueva froze Jayson Werth with a 57 mph offering:

Tony Perez hit one over the Green Monster against Bill Lee in Game 7 of the 1975 World Series:

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