Stanley Anderson, a 53-year-old head of security at C. J. Barrymore’s, an amusement and theme park outside Detroit, says he can hit a baseball moving at speeds upwards of 250 miles an hour.
When he’s not collaring teenaged punks who try to skip roller coaster lines, Anderson, who played Little League, high school and college baseball, still regularly takes swings inside Barrymore’s batting cages. But he doesn’t do any old run-of-the-mill batting practice. Oh no. Anderson stands about 20 feet away from a pitching machine that shoots out fastballs at speeds up to 80 miles an hour. And since the regulation distance from a pitcher’s mound to home plate is 60 feet, Anderson asserts that he could make contact with a ball sailing toward him at 266 miles per hour.
“I played little league, high school, college. I played at Kentucky State University. I just never got that pro shot,” Anderson told Fox 2 Detroit. “I’m 53 years old. Obviously, if I’m doing what I’m doing in there, that means maybe I should’ve got a shot. But sometimes people make it and shouldn’t, and sometimes people that should, don’t. That’s how it goes.”
We’re not physics experts, but Anderson might be technically correct. Using Google, we found a spreadsheet from the company Pocket Radar that purports to be a pitch speed conversion chart. Its calculations indicate that a ball traveling 80 mph would have an actual speed of 261 mph if measured it 17 feet from its source. That’s not 266, but OK, close enough.
However, though Anderson does make contact in the video above, a few factors are working for him. He knows exactly when the pitch is coming, since balls come out of a pitching machine at regular intervals. Plus, the balls have no movement and just sail right down the middle. So this is really just a timing exercise for Anderson—one that he appears to have practiced a lot. Also, look at Anderson’s swing. It’s not exactly a thing of beauty. He looks like he’s trying to hack down an oak tree. See for yourself and decide whether he’d legitimately be able to hit a pitch moving over 250 mph.
Regardless, Anderson certainly doesn’t lack confidence about his unique skill.
“A friendly challenge to anybody—Cabrera, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, any of ’em,” he said. “I don’t think they would be able to outhit me—at that range. I’m not saying I’m a better hitter than them. I’m saying at that range, though, they’re not used to being able to react that fast.”
We’d pay money to see that competition actually happen.