Aug 7, 2021; Oakland, California, USA; Texas Rangers second baseman Brock Holt (16) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers used utility player Brock Holt to pitch during a blowout loss to the Athletics on Saturday, and he threw some of the slowest pitches ever recorded in major league history. He also worked a scoreless inning in his third career appearance on the mound, and first since 2020.

Holt threw a majority of eephus pitches, including one blooper registering at 30.4 mph for a ball to Matt Chapman. It definitely was the slowest anyone has thrown since at least 2008 when MLB Statcast started keeping track. Of the five eephus pitches he threw that had a speed recorded (one inexplicably did not), they averaged 32.1 mph.

Holt was slow but effective; he allowed only a single to Chapman, and no other baserunners, in a 12-3 loss at the Oakland Coliseum. He threw six strikes out of 10 pitches.

Holt said his mindset was simply “to try and lower my career ERA,” which came in at 13.50. Holt also said he talked manager Chris Woodward into letting him pitch instead of teammate Charlie Culberson, who also was lobbying but already was in the game. Culberson had pitched a scoreless inning earlier this season.

“The situation stinks, but it’s always fun to be able to go out and do that,” Holt said.

Using a windup and delivery similar to that of a knuckleballer, Holt threw six eephus pitches, starting with a 31.1 mph strike to Josh Harrison that he located perfectly:

“I got a couple nice calls today,” Holt acknowledged.

Harrison swung at the next pitch, a 32.6 mph eephus, and hit a tapper back to the mound that Holt converted into a 1-3 putout.

Chapman followed by taking the slowest pitch of all, which missed outside, though catcher Jose Trevino hilariously tried to frame it for a strike. Plate umpire Chris Guccione was not moved to give the Rangers the call.

Chapman didn’t let the next balloon offering go by; he swung and lined it into left-center, slow-pitch softball style, for a single. But he got greedy and was thrown out trying to take second base. (This was the pitch that wasn’t assigned a speed by the computers. Maybe Brock Holt broke Statcast!)

“The plan was to see how slow I could still throw it and still throw strikes,” Holt said. “I was able to execute my plan to perfection today.”

After the final out of the inning, Holt hustled off the mound but not before offering up his glove and hat to umpires to see if they wanted to check him for sticky contraband like they do every other pitcher (seemingly). His offer was declined.

It’s funny; Holt’s slowest pitch didn’t even register a spin rate on Statcast. (Did he break it twice?) His second-slowest came in at 630 rpm, with three others in the 800 rpm range.

“The spin rate… is something I’m going to have to work on,” Holt said.

Kemp also threw four fastballs, all to Tony Kemp, that ranged from 68.2 to 82.7 mph (with a spin rate as high as 2,137). Some of them drew “oohs” and “ahhs” from the partisan A’s crowd. Kemp turned around the fastest fastball, but it was a flyout.

“I don’t throw hard enough to put very much stress on my arm,” Holt said. “For me, it’s about getting us out of the inning and getting us to tomorrow without having to use any more pitchers.”

Until Holt took the mound, the next slowest pitch recorded by Statcast, ever, actually came a day before when infielder Jonathan Araúz of the Red Sox threw a 36.3 mph changeup in the dirt during a blowout for the Blue Jays. When someone throws in the 30s, it brings up the question of how slow could a pitcher feasibly throw the ball and still get it to plate? The answer is uncertain, but a quick study at the

Hardball Times in 2010 (written by current Braves executive Mike Fast) suggests that 26-28 mph is close to the likely speed.

Holt wasn’t too far off.

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