The fosh, fosh ball, or fosh change is a seldom used pitch in Major League Baseball described as "a cross between a split-fingered pitch and a straight change-up".[1] It is designed to fool a batter expecting a fastball to have to contend with a slower pitch. The pitch has a grip like a fastball, but the index and middle fingers are spread slightly across the baseball, and the ring and little finger wrap around the side of the ball.[2] If thrown properly, it has characteristics like a breaking change-up or an off-speed split-finger fastball.

The origin of the fosh is unknown. Mike Boddicker was the first pitcher known to throw it, having tried it in the 1980s.[3] As pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox, Al Nipper taught the pitch to Jeff Suppan in 1995,[3] and Tom Gordon and Roger Clemens in 1996.[4] Other pitchers who have used it in a game are Jason Frasor,[2] Trevor Hoffman,[2] Johan Santana,[2]Jason Bere, Carl Pavano,[5] and Carlos Rosa.[6]

There are various etymologies for the term "fosh". According to The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches, three derivations are known. One is that Earl Weaver described it as "a cross between a fastball and a dead fish".[3] Another is a description by David Nied, who said the term sounds "like the perfect word for the movement of the pitch".[3] A third derivation, from Al Nipper, is that fosh is an acronym for "full of ...".[7]


  1. ^ McAdam, Sean (3 April 1996). "A fresh start for Gordon". South Coast Media Group. New England Sports Service. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  2. ^ a b c d Bastian, Jordan (12 April 2009). "Once rarely used split-finger helped get final out". Cleveland. 'Right now, I have a pretty good feel for it,' Frasor said. 'I'm going to ride it until it doesn't work any more. It's like a split, but I think people call it a fosh. Pappy taught it to me back in '05 and it's been on and off, on and off.'
  3. ^ a b c d James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (2004). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Simon and Schuster. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7432-6158-6.
  4. ^ "Red Sox preview". South Coast Media Group. The New England Sports Service. 31 March 1996. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  5. ^ "Carl Pavano #48 - SP". The Sports Network. Changes speeds well, including a 'fosh' ball that is a great change-of-pace pitch.
  6. ^ Callis, Jim; Lingo, Will (2007). Baseball America Prospect Handbook. Baseball America. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-932391-14-5. He never was comfortable with a conventional circle changeup before his elbow reconstruction, so the Royals taught him a fosh changeup that's now his second-best pitch.
  7. ^ Golen, Jimmy (10 March 1996). "Sox pitchers hit with 'fosh fever'". Associated Press.