A major league fastball can be described in numbers—a 5¼-ounce baseball; 60 feet, six inches from the mound to home plate; a 0.4-second flight. But pitching can't be reduced to simple physics. It's also art, as well as a medical subject. Pitchers manipulate the flight of the ball by adjusting their grip, and the human bodies that propel the ball are subject to biological vulnerabilities.
A new USC Libraries exhibition opening March 31, 2015, on the ground floor of Doheny Memorial Library explores the science and art of pitching. Inspired by the USC Libraries' Biomechanics of Motion collection, Velocity and Vulnerability features materials from the libraries' collections, baseball memorabilia, and rare items from the USC Athletics archive.
Also on March 31, a related Visions & Voices event beginning at 6:00 p.m. on USC's Dedeaux Field explores baseball's biological limitations in depth. Organized by the USC Libraries and USC Athletics, the event features a conversation among USC Keck orthopedic surgeon Seth Gamradt, USC alumnus and baseball legend Tom House, USC Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering professor Jill McNitt-Gray, and World Series champion pitcher Robb Nen. Complimentary stadium-style food will be available, and after the discussion students and other attendees will have a chance to test their fastballs against a radar gun. RSVP online.