Dear Mr. Baseball:Michael Jordan was asked recently about...


May 19, 1994

Dear Mr. Baseball:

Michael Jordan was asked recently about the difference between a two-seam and four-seam fastball. He couldn't explain. Can you?

Thomas Lim

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Dear Thomas Lim:

Your letter was a pleasant surprise because it shows that this column is read by fans throughout our nation and because it suggests that, even in a state such as California, which has Yosemite National Park and Knott's Berry Farm, people can get pretty bored.

Questions that require actual knowledge of baseball usually stump the panel around here. But Mr. Baseball did stumble upon the information you are seeking in a recent article written by Sun baseball writer Tom Keegan. According to Keegan, the distinguishing characteristic of the two-seamer is that it sinks, and if it's a good one, sinks a lot. It's the pitch of choice for junkballers, a la Jamie Moyer. The four-seamer is a straighter and faster pitch, favored by power pitchers, such as Ben McDonald. The pitches are gripped differently, the four-seamer across and the two-seamer along the seams.

Mr. Baseball has faxed a copy of this answer to Jordan in the hope it might lead to a promotion to Triple-A Nashville.

Dear Mr. Baseball:

What branch of the service did Bob Feller serve in during World War II?

Albert Fitch


Dear Albert Fitch:

Thank you for your letter and repeated (three, at last count) phone calls to the Mr. Baseball hot line. Be assured that there has been no attempt to dodge your question. On the contrary, Mr. Baseball is a loyal supporter of our armed services and a big fan of Feller's.

This soft spot proved helpful when early investigating turned up no record of the Hall of Famer having served in the French Foreign Legion. Mr. Baseball persevered until a chance call to the Cleveland Indians ended the suspense. Indians archivists reported that Feller served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, when his career was at its peak. He was stationed aboard the USS Alabama, where he served in the gunnery department and earned eight battle stars.

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