"For two weeks I brought my arm down lower and lower when I pitched until finally the ground stopped me. I found that when I was throwing underarm, I was getting the ball over and it was sinking better."
From that time on, Hyde was a submarine pitcher. To the unsuspecting fans watching him throw underhand at Chattanooga the next few years, he presented a strange sight. There happened to be some softball diamonds near the ball field, and Hyde often heard people shout, "Are you sure you're in the right park, buddy?" One batter even suggested he ought to stand on his head so he could throw overhand like everyone else.
"I don't hear much of that in the majors," says Hyde. "Oh, Jimmy Piersall of the Red Sox will tell me to stop throwing like a girl when he's in the batter's box. But that's about all."
Hyde turned to relief pitching during his first season with Chattanooga when he discovered he didn't have the stamina to go a full nine innings. "Back in college they tested me for a phys ed course," explains Hyde, "and my arms were the weakest part of my body."
Nowadays when relief pitchers are the glamour boys of baseball, such muscular types as Ryne Duren of the Yankees and Dick Farrell of the Phillies intimidate the batters with brute force translated into blazing fast balls. Lost in the arguments over which of these two is better—and faster—is the fact that neither has a record equal to Dick Hyde, a pitcher who isn't particularly big, doesn't have an eye-popping fast ball and doesn't even throw like a baseball pitcher should.