Fred Bierman/New York Times:
On Sunday, Randy Johnson was facing San Francisco outfielder Fred Lewis in the first inning and threw a pitch so slow that it failed to even register on the radar gun. Lewis was obviously expecting something with a little more heat on it and the pitch fluttered in for strike two. Lewis eventually worked a single in the at bat on the way to becoming the first lefty ever to get four hits off Johnson.
The Eephus pitch as it is known today, was popularized in the 1930s and 40s by a Pirates pitcher named Rip Sewell is basically just a high arcing lob or a “junk ball.” It seems that everyone who throws the pitch (or some version of it) has their own name for it. Dave LaRoche called his “LaLob”. Dave Steib called his the “Dead Fish”. Bill Lee (one of the most colorful figures in the history of the game) called his the “Spaceball” or “Leephus”. Yankee fans will of course remember Steve Hamilton’s “Folly Floater”. Today Orlando Hernandez and Tim Wakefield are among the only players to throw some version of the Eephus.
There are two famous stories of players missing or fouling off an eephus and asking for it again. In the 1946 All-Star game, Sewell threw one to Ted Williams, who missed it and asked for another. Sewell obliged and Williams hit it out of the park.