Article says : "Hitting a Baseball is the Hardest Skill to Pull Off in Sports." -- Not IMO

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The only direct comparison to baseball (well not direct, but the closest viable one) is cricket.

The speed is similar (top level bowlers reach speeds of 90-100mph), but the key difference is that the ball typically hits the ground first, this lowers the speed (normally), but introduces another random variable as it can shoot off, on an unexpected trajectory, so no idea which is harder there, probably subjective.

As for the fielding, this isn't even close, cricket wins this hands down as fielders have to catch a similarly sized ball, similar hardness, hit at similar speeds...but they don't have the luxury of a huge glove!

As for pure Athleticism, definitely historically baseball wins over cricket hands down, but with the increased professionalism and introduction of T20 cricket I'm not so sure anymore, that again is subjective, especially as cricket doesn't allow substitutions (the only exception is for concussion if you're batting or for a fielder, but they then aren't allowed to bowl).

I'm not sure its clear cut though, hockey looks pretty tough (physically and the level of difficulty), some of the Gaelic sports (e.g. Hurling) look brutal and F1 / Indy / Nascar must require super human reactions (and higher fitness levels than people assume), so they could be up there too!
I agree that cricket is a challenging game and analogous to baseball in many respects. But the batsman has twice as much time to swing versus a baseball swing based on average speed of the ball thrown in each sport. And the speeds
being attained in baseball that exceed 100 mph exit velocity are common and over 115 mph is no longer rare and with home run distances over 450 ft. Every MLB seems to have at least one pitcher that can throw at 100 mph or so it seems and 95-96 mph has become ho-hum pitches. And MLB keeps messing with the baseball all the time too like
this year in particular. Cricket is a assuredly difficult and popular but for speed and athleticism, baseball is number one.
 

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sjm

Older and Wiser
Silver Member
I'm in the camp that agrees that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. When a ball that may or not be curving and may or may not be sinking is thrown at you at a high speed, it's awfully difficult to hit it.
 

geoff_182

Member
What about successfully executing a pole vault? Or basically any gymnastic apparatus? There are plenty of sports that are very tough that most people wouldn't be able to do.
 

straightline

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
What about pitching the ball? Dun seem any easier.

The most difficult sport by far was Neanderthal penis fighting. Archeologists have discerned that matches were unwinnable.
 

vjmehra

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I agree that cricket is a challenging game and analogous to baseball in many respects. But the batsman has twice as much time to swing versus a baseball swing based on average speed of the ball thrown in each sport. And the speeds
being attained in baseball that exceed 100 mph exit velocity are common and over 115 mph is no longer rare and with home run distances over 450 ft. Every MLB seems to have at least one pitcher that can throw at 100 mph or so it seems and 95-96 mph has become ho-hum pitches. And MLB keeps messing with the baseball all the time too like
this year in particular. Cricket is a assuredly difficult and popular but for speed and athleticism, baseball is number one.
One other factor you need to consider...in Baseball the pitcher isn't allowed to aim at your head, in cricket its an acceptable tactic :)
 

Bavafongoul

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
One other factor you need to consider...in Baseball the pitcher isn't allowed to aim at your head, in cricket its an acceptable tactic :)
You’re right about that. But a 100+ mph fastball up high and tight is nothing to be taken lightly.
Tony Conigliaro proved this back in ‘67; he was 26 yrs old & Jack Hamilton only threw low 90’s.

Getting hit on your fingers, hands, wrist or forearms with 95+ mph pitches can shatter bones.
Key injuries happen all the time with batters getting hit with a pitch & having to go on the DL list.

Pitchers are having to react to batted balls coming back at them over 110 mph. Heck, Judge and
Stanton hit balls over 120 mph that are so fast a infielder cannot react. Home run exit time of 4 secs.
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
I agree that cricket is a challenging game and analogous to baseball in many respects. But the batsman has twice as much time to swing versus a baseball swing based on average speed of the ball thrown in each sport. And the speeds
being attained in baseball that exceed 100 mph exit velocity are common and over 115 mph is no longer rare and with home run distances over 450 ft. Every MLB seems to have at least one pitcher that can throw at 100 mph or so it seems and 95-96 mph has become ho-hum pitches. And MLB keeps messing with the baseball all the time too like
this year in particular. Cricket is a assuredly difficult and popular but for speed and athleticism, baseball is number one.


Just over forty years ago the Astro's scouted a friend of mine. He threw a baseball 99.8 miles an hour, three times. He was frustrated he couldn't break 100. I am sure a little coaching would have upped his speed a bit. They wanted him to come play minor league. That didn't pay as much as McDonald's and Skip was a pipefitter/welder and couldn't afford the pay cut since he was the sole support of his mother and I think some much younger siblings too.

I wonder how the sports like tennis stack up? Serves can top 120 and I don't know what returns can top. Jai Alai? I see they are slinging a ball at each other that is as hard as a golf ball and 3/4 the size of a baseball. They reach speeds of 190+!

An old politician, not sure if he was based on a real person or purely fictional, was talking about how wonderful baseball was. He said, "where else can you hurl a lethal weapon at somebody's head at ninety miles an hour and call it a game?"
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
What about successfully executing a pole vault? Or basically any gymnastic apparatus? There are plenty of sports that are very tough that most people wouldn't be able to do.
The Rings! The most well conditioned athletes I've ever seen are gymnasts. Second may be swimmers.
Back to the original question. I played all sports as a kid and teenager. I was good at baseball and basketball, but a bit too small to go far. I was excellent at tennis and reached the city finals my senior year (the only match I lost the entire year). I also played golf for a few years (age 13-15) and was able to break 80 when I was 15, but preferred tennis. The bottom line is that I picked up all these games and could play at a competent level rather quickly.

Then along came pool when I was already 18. BY FAR the hardest game I ever tried to play! It was really frustrating to just learn how to make balls consistently. After maybe a solid year of practice I got fairly good at pocketing shots. Then I set out learning how to control the cue ball, and that was much harder! Another two years of dedication and I could now run a rack of 9-Ball with some frequency. I thought I was good, but then I saw GOOD and realized I had a long way to go. I tried and tried for another ten years but never really got to where anyone would call me a very good player. A shortstop was the highest compliment I ever got. Somehow I caught on how to make bank shots and liked it. I was good at that, and beat some much better players at that one game. But alas there was not much call for Bank Pool back then, or even now.

Don't ever let anyone tell you this is not a very tough game to play well. It damn sure is! I've been around a lot of great athletes and to a man they admire the skill of pool players. You don't catch on to pool in a minute or a year for that matter. When someone used to ask me how to become a good player, my stock answer was to become obsessed with the game for three years! I would still tell them that today.

P.S. I used to love to go to batting ranges when I was in my 20's and 30's. I usually gravitated to the fastest machine in the place, and often it would throw at 90 mph. I could hit the ball maybe one out of three or four times, just not very hard. And let me tell you, when that machine heaves the ball that fast it moves around in all different directions. You might even get hit if you're not careful. 100 mph! Forget about it. I wouldn't get in there if you paid me.
 
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ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
The Rings! The most well conditioned athletes I've ever seen are gymnasts. Second may be swimmers.
Back to the original question. I played all sports as a kid and teenager. I was good at baseball and basketball, but a bit too small to go far. I was excellent at tennis and reached the city finals my senior year (the only match I lost the entire year). I also played golf for a few years (age 13-15) and was able to break 80 when I was 15, but preferred tennis. The bottom line is that I picked up all these games and could play at a competent level rather quickly.

Then along came pool when I was already 18. BY FAR the hardest game I ever tried to play! It was really frustrating to just learn how to make balls consistently. After maybe a solid year of practice I got fairly good at pocketing shots. Then I set out on learning how to control the cue ball, and that was much harder! Another two years of dedication and I could now run a rack of 9-Ball with some frequency. I thought I was good, but then I saw GOOD and realized I had a long way to go. I tried and tried for another ten years but never really got to where anyone would call me a very good player. A shortstop was the highest compliment I ever got. Somehow I caught on to how to make bank shots and liked it. I was good at that, and beat some much better players at that one game. But alas there was not much call for Bank Pool back then, or even now.

Don't ever let anyone tell you this is not a very tough game to play well. It damn sure is! I've been around a lot of great athletes and to a man they admire the skill of pool players. You don't catch on to pool in a minute or a year for that matter. When someone used to ask me how to become a good player, my stock answer was to become obsessed with the game for three years! I would still tell them that today.

P.S. I used to love to go to batting ranges when I was in my 20's and 30's. I usually gravitated to the fastest machine in the place, and often it would throw at 90 mph. I could hit the ball maybe one out of three or four times, just not very hard. And let me tell you, when that machine heaves the ball that fast it moves around in all different directions. You might even get hit if you're not careful. 100 mph! Forget about it. I wouldn't get in there if you paid me.


I have never been in a batting cage. Just as well, I didn't realize they threw ninety mile an hour knuckle balls! I hit pretty fair against humans but with no real power. I went to JR high school with a guy that wasn't real bright but could bounce a softball off a wall over 150 yards away. I would like to measure just how far he was hitting it now. I could throw a softball. In sixth or seventh grade I would motion the catcher to the side, no glove, and whip the ball into a brick wall. Perfect strikes and the batter would swing after the ball hit the wall. I only got one or two batters like that before an adult came running out of the building and made me stop! My older sister played tennis and my first try was a lot like the softball, I could whip full power shots into the proper zone and my sister would swing after the ball hit the back fence. Trying to hit the tennis ball easier I had no control and bent my elbow a little. That night or the next morning I discovered tennis elbow and it hurt me off and on for years!

I was fair at things like bowling, worked hard at some other things but there were people a lot better at pinball and fooseball. Pool fascinated me from the first time I tried when I could barely see over the table. When I got my driver's license the day I turned fifteen I was shooting pool that night! I was terrible! As I have said many times, it took six months to win more beer than I lost in bars. Another couple years and I was pretty good, I thought. Then I saw some video of Willie as a young man, long before his stroke. He was coming across into lanes not much more than a ball wide for shape on the next ball and nailing shape. Best estimate, I put five or six thousand hours focusing intently on cue ball shape after watching Willie. I got there, not at Willie's level but not far behind. Very few had to like what I could lay down on many nights. I had found my niche. Then I found the ponies, owning them. So long pool!

Hu
 

gregcantrall

Center Ball
Silver Member
Just over forty years ago the Astro's scouted a friend of mine. He threw a baseball 99.8 miles an hour, three times. He was frustrated he couldn't break 100. I am sure a little coaching would have upped his speed a bit. They wanted him to come play minor league. That didn't pay as much as McDonald's and Skip was a pipefitter/welder and couldn't afford the pay cut since he was the sole support of his mother and I think some much younger siblings too.

I wonder how the sports like tennis stack up? Serves can top 120 and I don't know what returns can top. Jai Alai? I see they are slinging a ball at each other that is as hard as a golf ball and 3/4 the size of a baseball. They reach speeds of 190+!

An old politician, not sure if he was based on a real person or purely fictional, was talking about how wonderful baseball was. He said, "where else can you hurl a lethal weapon at somebody's head at ninety miles an hour and call it a game?"
We had a pitcher that threw in that range. He was 6 foot and 200 lbs in little league. In highschool I caught him in practice. His fast ball had about a 4" hop. On one play he was cut off near the mound with the runner being far enough ahead that he crossed in front of the fast ball he threw for the play at the plate. The hop put the ball just above my glove and direct hit to the cup. Oh Lord. Anyway the scouts assessment was he threw with his arm and not whole body. Not interested as that wouldn't lead to longevity. Opposite of Sachel Page.
 

336Robin

Multiverse Operative
Gold Member
Silver Member
We had a pitcher that threw in that range. He was 6 foot and 200 lbs in little league. In highschool I caught him in practice. His fast ball had about a 4" hop. On one play he was cut off near the mound with the runner being far enough ahead that he crossed in front of the fast ball he threw for the play at the plate. The hop put the ball just above my glove and direct hit to the cup. Oh Lord. Anyway the scouts assessment was he threw with his arm and not whole body. Not interested as that wouldn't lead to longevity. Opposite of Sachel Page.

Pool Players seem to come from baseball players/athletes. When I was young I threw several 3, 2 and 1 hit games and 5 no hitters in little league.
I was short with a big windup. I threw with my entire body and went through cleats. I had to install pitching toes on both shoes. Then some bs
happened with leagues and such and I ended up a pool player.
 

fastone371

Certifiable
Silver Member
Golf (can't even drive the damned things) and pool have passive balls/objects. Baseball has an active, artificial intelligence driven ball that acts to trick the shooter.
Which means that a baseball can actually curve/sink/rise right into your swing trajectory. :):)
 

ShootingArts

Smorg is giving St Peter the 7!
Gold Member
Silver Member
hu, fast serves in tennis regularly touch 140, fastest 160+!
returns, I've seen ~120, tho that is usually off of a slower serve..

I am a wee bit out of date! I haven't watched TV in ten years and haven't watched tennis in a lot longer! I remember when the Williams sisters came along and Chris Evert had a lot to do with my initial interest in watching tennis when she was a HOT ingenue. The men hit backhands with one hand and one guy that fascinated me had an obviously much bigger right arm. Fairly short person but a great player in that day. Wooden rackets were still the thing too.

Hu
 

Toxictom

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I'm in the camp that agrees that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. When a ball that may or not be curving and may or may not be sinking is thrown at you at a high speed, it's awfully difficult to hit it.
I'm always amazed that some baseball players can focus enough to see the stitching on the ball coming at them at 90+ mph.
 
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