Cardinal pitcher Jordan Hick’s record tying 105 mph pitch explained

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ST. LOUIS - Sunday, it was a 5 to 1 Cardinals win but it was three numbers that made baseball history, 105 MPH.

“I can`t explain it,” says Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals Pitcher.  “I don`t know.  I just try to gear up and flow.”

What's impressive is that Jordan Hicks, the 21-year-old Cardinals pitcher had two pitches thrown at 105 miles per hour.  But also, impressive, that he threw the five fastest pitches of the 2018 season.

The other three registered at 104.3, 104.2 and 103.7 miles per hour.

Who better to explain the physics of 105 miles an hour fastball than a Washington University Engineering Professor.

“Human reaction time is only four-tenths of a second for a good athlete,” says David Peters, McDonnell Douglas Professor of Engineering Washington University.  “For most of us, it`s five-tenths of a second.  At 90 miles an hour, it takes the ball about .45 seconds to get there, exactly the human reaction time that a batter has a chance to watch it and decide.  But at 105 it`s only .36 seconds to get there.  You must decide swing before the ball leaves his hand or you can`t do it.”

For mere mortals to wrap their mind around this physical feat of 105, let's check back in with the professor at the chalkboard, explaining Bernoulli`s Principle and Jordan Hick`s two-seam fastball.

“One side of the baseball speeds up the air, one side slows it down,” says Peters.  “So, it doesn`t lift it as much so gravity tends to bring it down. But at the same time, it moves sideways.”

So, the game of baseball is very much a chess match and for a batter facing three-digit fastballs.

“Abner Doubleday 60 feet six inches,” says Peters.  “Somehow, we`re on the edge of what a human being can do from the pitcher`s side and the batters side, it`s perfect.”

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