Aaron Hicks is in the record books! The New York Yankees outfielder uncorked a huge throw to home plate on Wednesday — a throw that would later be officially designated the fastest throw ever recorded in baseball.
Hicks’ record-breaking throw happened on Wednesday during the Yankees’ eventual 5-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. As the New York Post reports, Hicks was manning left field in the top of the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. It had been a disastrous inning for the Bronx Bombers — the A’s had already scored three runs when, with one out and the bases loaded, Yonder Alonso stepped up to the plate.
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Alonso then launched a long fly ball to left field. Hicks caught the ball, and then uncorked a laser to home plate. The ball hopped once and then was scooped up by the catcher to put out Danny Valencia, who was running from third. The double play ended the inning.
In the video below, you can see Hicks’ throw from the outer reaches of left field beat the runner to end the inning.
Besides throwing a double play to save the day (even though it was for naught and his team eventually lost the game), even better for Hicks is that his spectacular throw is now one for the record books. Literally: the throw, clocked at 105.5 miles per hour, is officially the fastest ball ever thrown in Major League Baseball.
The speed of Hicks’ throw was measured by Statcast, a new tracking technology that has only been in use for a few years. That means that it’s quite possible that other players in Major League Baseball history have thrown faster than Hicks — Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, in his day, was known to have an arm that rivaled any pitcher. But for now and into the foreseeable future, Statcast’s records are the official records of MLB, and Hicks now holds that record.
An April, 2015, report on MLB.com explains how Statcast works.
“Statcast collects the data using a series of high-resolution optical cameras along with radar equipment that has been installed in all 30 Major League ballparks. The technology precisely tracks the location and movements of the ball and every player on the field at any given time. The result is an unparalleled amount of figures and information, covering everything from the pitcher to the batter to any defensive players — and everything in between. Statcast has been deemed by MLB Network analyst Brian Kenny to be ‘a revolutionary technology that will change the way fans around the world view our national pastime.’ “
Prior to Hicks’ record-breaking throw, the previous record for fastest outfield throw — also determined by Statcast — belonged to the Astros’ Carlos Gomez, according to Washington Post, who threw a 103.1 mph cannonball last September. And for Hicks, who was a star pitcher in high school and routinely hit the upper 90s, according to the more traditional radar gun, his fastest Statcast throw prior to Wednesday was a 103.07 mph throw, also from last September.
Records and technology aside, Hicks was just glad to be able to make the play and do right by his team. Speaking to reporters after the Yankees’ loss, Hicks described the play.
“When you know your ball’s not tailing and you’ve got that nice four-seam going straight, you know you’re going to get a solid hop. I did today.”
Aaron Hicks and the Yankees take on the Athletics again Wednesday night at 7:05 pm New York time.
[Image via YouTube]