This isn’t the first time that Eri Yoshida has made an impression–last year the 5’1″ 18-year old became the first female to be drafted into a professional Japanese baseball team. But on Tuesday, Yoshida received the chance to pitch with her childhood idol, Boston Red Sox’s Tim Wakefield.
“I’m impressed,” Wakefield told ESPN.
As a kid, Yoshida watched videos of Wakefield and mastered his infamous pitch–the knuckleball.
“It’s an honor to have somebody carry on a knuckleball tradition,” Wakefield said. “And somebody that’s doing it because she likes what I do. It’s pretty cool to have someone come over to the States from Japan.”
So what exactly is a knuckleball? Basically, it’s a special baseball pitch that’s known for it’s very erratic and unpredictable motion. Depending on the pitcher’s style, a knuckleball can change direction, and even corkscrew, in mid-flight. As you can imagine, this makes a knuckleball incredibly difficult–and some would say impossible–for batters to hit. In fact, it’s such a crazy pitch that even catchers have a hard time catching it!
I think it’s so inspiring to see how Yoshida has broken through the gender barrier and succeeded among all-male competitors. Go Eri Yoshida!