Math and the baseball outfielder

This is why I love the Internet.

Rick Ankiel, who used to be a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and is now an outfielder, threw out two baserunners earlier this season.

Rhett Alain, at dot.physics, has just calculated how fast a person would have to throw the ball to be able to do that.

First, he used Google Earth to calculate how far the ball went each time. Then he used a series of calculations like this…




… that apparently did something other than take me back to Miss Mercer’s class in high school where I sat in the back of the class and fretted because I didn’t get it….

Then he graphed it…


… and determined that the throw was launched at 123 mph.

He acknowledges, however, that he didn’t include the lower gravitational field and air density of Denver. Piker.

What does this tell us? To pay attention in high school.

Here’s the whole process.

  • Gre

    That is awesome. Great job, Poindexter (think he just changed his name to Rhett).