Baseball Intelligence: September 2020(#111)
“Pitching is EASY, the plate don’t move!”
MAVEN on the MOUND
Pitching is a key component of many games….baseball, softball, horse shoes, penny-ball, and even woo! In each instance it is a skill set that must be learned and mastered with solid fundamentals and hours of practice. In baseball the mastering of the art of pitching can result in a very lucrative and
highly publicized career. In softball and the others, the rewards are less financially rewarding but can lead to great happiness and successes.
Joan Joyce is one of the greatest women athletes to have graced the athletic fields. Many say she was second to none, but there was the “Other Babe”, Mildred Didrikson, to consider! One thing is for sure, Joan is the greatest softball pitcher ever and, also one of the most versatile athletes in sports history! She not only pitched softball, was a professional bowler, coached and played volleyball, played hoops, and was an outstanding golfer.
Joan began “hurling” as a 13 year-old for the Raybestos Brakettes pro softball team and had a career 753-42 won-lost record with a .09 ERA and 150 no-hitters and 50 perfect games. She hit over .400 and once pitched 45 scoreless innings in a 24- hour period! She also pitched for the Orange Lionettes and had a 145 consecutive scoreless inning streak. In a USC study, it was calculated that she threw the equivalent of 119 mph with her slingshot release!! She pitched at times against some of the MLB greats to include Hank Aaron who she struck out. Ted Williams got in the box and after 10 or so pitches, said “I cannot hit this!” Carl Yastrzemski refused to bat against her as he said, “I do not want to K against a girl!”
Joan joined the LPGA tour as a 19 year-old and consistently was the longest driver and best putter. She still holds the Guinness Book of Records for 17 putts in a single round(fewest). In basketball, she was a 4 time All American and 3 time all AAU player(Hall of Fame), and played for the USA National Team(1964). She holds the record of scoring 67 points in a single AAU tourney game.
As a player-coach on the US Volleyball Association/Connecticut Clippers teams, Joan won four national championships. After careers in softball, volleyball, and basketball she joined the por bowling tour and at 80 is still active!! In the very popular ABC Super Star competition she was the runner-up in the tennis segment(men and women). Lastly, after retiring as an active player, Joan became the coach of the Florida Atlantic University softball team and has more than 900 wins!! Oh, and she coached the golf team there for over 10 years as well. Whew!!!
In this day of specialization and one-sport wonders, Joan truly was the most accomplished women athlete of her time. Her hard work and versatility earned her a selection into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame and the admiration of sports fans around the world!!
“Great women athlete? No, GREAT ATHLETE!”