The forkball is a type of pitch in baseball. Related to the split-fingered fastball, the forkball is held between the first two fingers and thrown hard snapping the wrist. The forkball differs from the split-fingered fastball, however, in that the ball is jammed deeper between the first two fingers and that the ball starts to dive late comparing to that of the splitter.
Though a forkball generally is slower than a split-finger fastball, it can be thrown as hard as 90 mph (145 km/h), so it can (like the splitter) look like a fastball until it breaks near the plate.
This is as opposed to the splitter, which "drops off the table" (that is, it suddenly moves down, towards the batter's knees) without any of the knuckle-like tumbling action of the slower, less-spin forkball.
The forkball is favored by several Japanese and Taiwanese pitchers. Hideo Nomo features a particularly good forkball in his repertoire. José Contreras is another well known forkballer. Chien-Ming Wang can also pitch forkballs. Edwar Ramirez of the New York Yankees throws a forkball.
The forkball is known to be a cause of damage to the shoulder and elbow. Famous forkballers, particularly Japanese players, have often required surgery to remove bone fractures or to repair damaged tendons, sometimes several times in their careers.
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