In a weird promotion by Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith in 1946, a borrowed photo-electric cell device (used to measure speed of artillery rounds) measured Bob Feller’s velocity before the game.
His fastest pitch was recorded at 98.6 mph, but this was the speed at the plate. When averaged out to today’s standard 50 feet from the plate, the best estimate stands at 107.6 mph.
Clark Griffith… announced that I would throw some pitches through a special photoelectric measuring device at home plate so my fastball could be clocked in those days before radar guns. He announced the test a week before the Indians came to Washington, and he had a large crowd in his ball park the night of the test. Mr. Griffith came in… He told me it was about time to get out there and start throwing smoke. I told him as soon as he paid me for it. I asked him for $1,000 and settled for $700 before leaving the clubhouse to do it.
For my 700 bucks, I threw several balls through an opening in that photoelectric machine, and 31,000 fans watched almost in silence as they awaited the announcement of the speeds recorded by the machine, which came from Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.
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