The Fight for Speed: Some of the Fastest Pitchers in Baseball History

Control, command, and movement are all important factors in baseball. But it’s the speed of a fastball that will often get a pitcher into college or professional baseball.

Professional pitchers can throw fastballs at 95 mph, with the ball getting from the mound to the plate in only 0.395 seconds. This speed is even faster than the time it takes for someone to take a full blink, 0.40 seconds.

Pitching speed is recorded as soon as a pitch crosses the home plate, with every stadium, report, and television broadcast displaying it for the audience.

The fastest pitchers in history threw baseballs with speeds upward of 95 mph. Get to some of them:

Walter Johnson

Walter Johnson was another of the fastest throwing pitchers in baseball history. During his 21-year career with the Washington Senators, he struck out 3,509 batters, won 417 games, and pitched a 2.17 ERA. His pitch was measured at a bullet testing range in Connecticut in 1912. This determined his pitching velocity at 83 mph. While, these measurements were inaccurate, they paved the way for future measurement efforts.

Johnson’s fastball was measured against a speeding motorcycle in 1914. It was estimated that his speed came up to 97 mph.

Bob Feller

The official pitching speed of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller can never be known, because radar guns were still not prolific when he played in the mid-20th century.

Various efforts were made to measure his speed. Army equipment clocked him going 98.6 mph and, like Walter Johnson, his pitch was faster than a motorcycle going at 86 mph. Accounting for factors like time of measurement and the motorcycle’s head-start, Feller was credited with a throwing speed beyond 100 mph.

Randy Johnson

Randy Johnson’s professional baseball career spanned from 1988 to 2009. He was left-handed and 6’10, and he won 303 games with 4,875 strikeouts. His fastest official pitching speed was 102 mph measured in 2004. Likely, however, because of his extreme height and wingspan, his pitches were received by the batter 4 mph faster than they were measured. This is because there was a much shorter distance between the release point and the home plate.

Aroldis Chapman

No baseball speed list is complete without mention of Aroldis Chapman. He’d pitched less than 10 major league innings when he set the world record for the fastest pitch on September 24, 2010. His throw measured at 105.1 mph. Chapman continued to demonstrate dominance, receiving four All-Star nominations and striking out 507 batters in only 427.1 innings.

Chapman’s average fastball velocity was calculated at 98.8 mph. He led the National League in the number of triple digit pitches for the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons.

Radar Gun Sales carries a comprehensive selection of baseball radar guns. Our speed guns provide accurate readings for helping players develop their skills and improve throwing speed. We have advanced velocity measurement equipment suitable for even professional statistical applications. In addition, some of our equipment have display boards for participants and fans to view on the sidelines.

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