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In baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

, a slider (also known as a yakker, a snapper, or a spinner) is a pitch
Pitch (baseball)
In baseball, a pitch is the act of throwing a baseball toward home plate to start a play. The term comes from the Knickerbocker Rules. Originally, the ball had to be literally "pitched" underhand, as with pitching horseshoes. Overhand throwing was not allowed until 1884.The biomechanics of...

 that breaks laterally and down, with a speed between that of a curveball
Curveball
The curveball is a type of pitch in baseball thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball causing it to dive in a downward path as it approaches the plate. Its close relatives are the slider and the slurve. The "curve" of the ball varies from pitcher to...

 and that of a fastball
Fastball
The fastball is the most common type of pitch in baseball. Some "power pitchers," such as Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, have thrown it at speeds of 95–106 mph and up to 108.1 mph , relying purely on speed to prevent the ball from being hit...

.

The break on the pitch is shorter than that of a curveball. The release technique of a slider is between a curveball and a fastball. The slider is similar to the cutter
Cutter (baseball)
In baseball, a cutter, or cut fastball, is a type of fastball which breaks slightly toward the pitcher's glove side as it reaches home plate. This pitch is somewhere between a slider and a fastball, as it is usually thrown faster than a slider but with more motion than a typical fastball. Some...

, a pitch which is thrown as a fastball, but differs in the sense that a slider tends to be more of a breaking ball
Breaking ball
In baseball, a breaking ball is a pitch that does not travel straight like a fastball as it approaches the batter. A pitcher who uses primarily breaking ball pitches is often referred to as a junkballer. A breaking ball will have some sideways or downward motion on it...

.

Slider continuum


Depending on velocity, a pitch can fall anywhere on the continuum from "fastball" to "slider":
  • fastball » cut fastball » hard slider » slider » slurve
  • cut fastball: 2-3 MPH slower than fastball
  • hard slider: 3-5 MPH slower than fastball
  • slider: 5-9 MPH slower than fastball


The most notable difference between a slider and curveball is that the curveball delivery includes a downward yank on the ball as it is released, in addition to the lateral spin applied by the slider grip. If the pitcher is snapping his wrist as he throws, and the movement is more downward than sideways, then he is probably throwing a curveball or slurve
Slurve
The slurve is a baseball pitch in which the pitcher throws a slider as if he were throwing a curve ball. The term is a portmanteau of the words "slider" and "curve".-History:...

, and not a true “slider”.
When throwing a slider the pitcher should create a "dot" on the baseball. What this means is that as the ball approaches home plate the rotation of the ball is forming a dot. On a good slider the "dot" will be down where it is not noticeable for a hitter to pick up. From the batter's perspective this dot appears white, whereas the dot is red for a curve ball (created by the seam movement) allowing many skilled batters to immediately recognize the type of pitch. By having the dot on the bottom part of the ball the pitcher will create good depth to the pitch. A good hard slider has a slight break across the plate and a slight drop on its plane to the hitter.

It is important when throwing a slider, or any breaking pitch in baseball, not to come "around" the baseball. When the pitcher comes "around" the ball the pitcher puts extra tension on his pitching arm to throw that pitch. As mentioned earlier the pitcher should create a dot on the ball when throwing a slider, but the dot is not created by sweeping the arm around and spinning the ball. The dot will be created with a regular arm motion, just like a fast ball, then at the end the pitcher should pull his fingers down on the side of the ball. It is important that the dot is on the bottom half of the ball or else the slider will have little depth to it. To make sure that the dot is on the bottom the pitcher must ensure that the fingers stay on top of the ball until release. A good way to remember this is for the pitcher to tell himself to throw his fingers at the catcher. With the slider, or any pitch for that matter, it is important to follow through and finish the pitch.

Notable sliders


Right-handed pitcher David Cone
David Cone
David Brian Cone is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. During a 17-year baseball career, he pitched from 1986-2003 for six different teams. Cone pitched the sixteenth perfect game in baseball history. He also set the MLB record for most years between 20-win seasons. He was a member of five...

 was famous for his devastating slider, which he was able to use many different ways, as was Bob Gibson
Bob Gibson
Robert "Bob" Gibson is a retired American professional baseball player. Nicknamed "Hoot" and "Gibby", he was a right-handed pitcher who played his entire 17-year Major League Baseball career with St. Louis Cardinals...

 of the Cardinals. To right-handed batters, Cone would throw it to hook sharply outside the strike zone, getting hitters to chase and miss it. He would also throw the pitch from various arm angles to further confuse the hitter. Cone's slider was also a strikeout pitch to left-handed hitters, throwing it to curve back over the outside corner and catch the hitter looking. Cone used the slider to great effect during his perfect game
Perfect game
A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base. Thus, the pitcher cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batsmen, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any...

 on July 18, 1999---the final out was recorded via a slider resembling a whiffle ball. In the first game of the 1988 World Series, Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Lee Eckersley , nicknamed "Eck", is a former American Major League Baseball pitcher. Eckersley had success as a starter, but gained his greatest fame as a closer, becoming the first of only two pitchers in Major League history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career .He...

 tried to strike out Kirk Gibson
Kirk Gibson
Kirk Harold Gibson is a former Major League Baseball player and currently the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a player, Gibson was an outfielder who batted and threw left-handed...

 with a slider, but Gibson was sitting on that pitch and hit a game-winning home run. A notable slider was thrown by John Smoltz
John Smoltz
John Andrew Smoltz is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher and active sportscaster. He is best known for his prolific career of more than two decades with the Atlanta Braves, in which he garnered eight All-Star selections and received the Cy Young Award in 1996...

 which comes in looking like a strike and then breaks out of the strike zone. Brad Lidge
Brad Lidge
Bradley Thomas "Brad" Lidge is a reliever who is currently a free agent. Nicknamed "Lights Out", he is the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings among pitchers with at least 200 appearances in their career...

 featured a devastating slider as his primary weapon in his perfect season as a closer in 2008, and used a slider to strikeout the final batter of the 2008 World Series for the Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are a Major League Baseball team. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating to 1883. The Phillies are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League...

. Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the National League Central Division. The club was established in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890....

 closer Francisco Cordero
Francisco Cordero
Francisco Javier Cordero is a Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds...

 also possesses a potent slider. Yet another notable pitcher who throws a slider is Hall of Fame
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 25 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of...

r Rollie Fingers
Rollie Fingers
Roland Glen Fingers is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher. During his 18-year baseball career, he pitched for the Oakland Athletics , San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers . He became only the second reliever to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992...

 who used the pitch to win a Cy Young Award
Cy Young Award
The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball , one each for the American League and National League . The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955...

 in 1981. Another potent slider was thrown by Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington. Enfranchised in , the Mariners are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Safeco Field has been the Mariners' home ballpark since July...

 and Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks
The Arizona Diamondbacks are a professional baseball team based in Phoenix. They play in the West Division of Major League Baseball's National League. From 1998 to the present, they have played in Chase Field...

 starter Randy Johnson
Randy Johnson
Randall David Johnson , nicknamed "The Big Unit", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. During a 22-year career, he pitched for six different teams....

, whose incredible lateral movement on the pitch eventually spawned its own nickname, "Mr. Snappy." At times, his slider was faster than most pitchers' fastballs. Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton
Steve Carlton
Steven Norman Carlton , nicknamed "Lefty", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He pitched from 1965-1988 for six different teams in his career, but it is his time with the Philadelphia Phillies where he received his greatest acclaim as a professional and won four Cy Young Awards...

 was known for his nearly unhittable slider. Mike Jackson (right-handed pitcher), who tied Paul Assenmacher
Paul Assenmacher
Paul Andre Assenmacher is a former left-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for fourteen seasons. Assenmacher pitched for the Atlanta Braves , Chicago Cubs , New York Yankees , Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians...

 with the most games pitched
Games pitched
In baseball statistics, games pitched is the number of games in which a player appears as a pitcher; a player who is announced as the pitcher must face at least one batter, although exceptions are made if the pitcher announced in the starting lineup is injured before facing a batter, perhaps while...

 in the 1990s (644), also threw a great slider. Ron Guidry
Ron Guidry
Ronald Ames Guidry , nicknamed "Louisiana Lightning" and "Gator", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He played his entire 14-year baseball career for the New York Yankees...

 was famous for his devastating slider, he was taught by Sparky Lyle
Sparky Lyle
Albert Walter "Sparky" Lyle is an American former left-handed relief pitcher who spent sixteen seasons in Major League Baseball . He was a closer from 1969 to 1977, first for the Boston Red Sox and then the New York Yankees. A three-time All-Star, he won the American League Cy Young Award in 1977...

.

Other active pitchers with good sliders include Sergio Romo
Sergio Romo
Sergio Francisco Romo is a American right-handed professional baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants of Major League baseball.-Early life:Romo was born in Brawley, California to Mexican immigrant parents...

, Joe Nathan
Joe Nathan
Joseph Michael Nathan is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball . Nathan started out his baseball career as a shortstop in high school but converted to a pitcher after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants...

, Joba Chamberlain
Joba Chamberlain
Justin Louis "Joba" Chamberlain is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Yankees.-Early life:Chamberlain was born and grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Chamberlain's parents, Harlan Chamberlain and Jackie Standley, were never married and split up when Joba was 18 months old...

, Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee
Clifton Phifer "Cliff" Lee is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. Lee has also played for the Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers....

, Johan Santana
Johan Santana
Johan Alexander Santana Araque is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who is currently playing for the New York Mets. He is a native of Venezuela....

, Kerry Wood
Kerry Wood
Kerry Lee Wood is a National Major League Baseball relief pitcher. Wood recorded over 200 strikeouts in four out of his first five seasons, with a high of 266 in 2003....

, Carlos Marmol
Carlos Marmol
Carlos Agustín Mármol is a relief pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.-Minor league career:Mármol started his career as a catcher/outfielder...

, Scott Feldman, Brad Lidge
Brad Lidge
Bradley Thomas "Brad" Lidge is a reliever who is currently a free agent. Nicknamed "Lights Out", he is the all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings among pitchers with at least 200 appearances in their career...

, Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Edward Kershaw is a left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball.In 2011, Kershaw won the Pitching Triple Crown and the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either of these feats since Dwight Gooden in 1985...

 and Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano y Casillas is a left-handed Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.-Professional career:...

. Armando Galarraga
Armando Galarraga
Armando Antonio Galarraga is a Venezuelan professional baseball pitcher who is a free agent. Galarraga made his Major League Baseball debut with the Texas Rangers on September 15, 2007...

 threw sliders 38.9 % of the time in 2008, more than any other starting pitcher in the majors, and Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Scott Dempster is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Dempster bats and throws right-handed. He has been both a starter and a reliever in his career.-Professional career:...

 threw them 32.9% of the time, more than any other NL starting pitcher. In 2008 CC Sabathia had the most effective slider, among major league starting pitchers. Zack Greinke
Zack Greinke
Donald Zackary "Zack" Greinke is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Greinke won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009 with the Kansas City Royals.-High school & minor leagues:Greinke was born in Orlando, Florida...

 won the AL Cy Young award in 2009 due in large part to his slider, one of the better pitches in all of baseball. In 2011, Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Edward Kershaw is a left-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball.In 2011, Kershaw won the Pitching Triple Crown and the National League Cy Young Award, becoming the youngest pitcher to accomplish either of these feats since Dwight Gooden in 1985...

 won the Triple Crown
Triple Crown
The term Triple Crown is often used to describe the act of winning or completing the three most difficult or prestigious events in a given field:*Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing*Major League Baseball Triple Crown*Triple Crown...

 by having a .117 average against his slider.

Improper throwing while pitching sliders is associated with pitching injuries and slider pitchers experience injuries at a rate slightly higher than that of other pitchers.

History


The innovator of the slider is debated, but some credit Chief Bender
Chief Bender
Charles Albert "Chief" Bender was a pitcher in Major League Baseball during the first two decades of the 20th century...

 as the first to use the slider, also George Blaeholder was credited with using it with the St. Louis Browns then called a "nickel curve", in the 1910s. Bender used his slider to help him achieve a no-hitter
No-hitter
A no-hitter is a baseball game in which one team has no hits. In Major League Baseball, the team must be without hits during the entire game, and the game must be at least nine innings. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter"...

 and win 212 games in his career. Bender was the first pitcher to win six World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 games.
More recently, NY Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry
Ron Guidry
Ronald Ames Guidry , nicknamed "Louisiana Lightning" and "Gator", is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He played his entire 14-year baseball career for the New York Yankees...

 mastered the pitch to great effect in 1978 when he went 25-3 and won the Cy Young award
Cy Young Award
The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball , one each for the American League and National League . The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955...

.
It is also the name of the Cleveland Indians mascot who was recently inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame
Mascot Hall of Fame
The Mascot Hall of Fame is a hall of fame for United States sports mascots. It was founded by David Raymond, who was the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978 to 1993. It is an online-only hall, with an induction ceremony taking place each year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

.