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"In science fiction one can say a great many things that are unpalatable, … because it's expressed as science fiction you can slip it past their defenses."
- Frederik Pohl

Aeroplane Baseball  
  A standard-sized baseball making possible non-standard pitches.  

“Say, how in Sam Hill do you put so much English on the ball?”


(Aeroplane Baseball from 'The Educated Pill' by Bob Olsen)

“I will tell you. It is the ball. I invented it myself. I’ve been working on it four years. I call it the aeroplane base ball.”

As he spoke, he had the ball in his hand, twisting on it until it came apart in two halves. One of the pieces was just a hollow shell of steel with small holes in it; the other part was the funniest looking contraption you ever see in your life. It was built like a dinkey toy aeroplane, with a propellor and dinguses for making it go up and down and to the right or left. The whole rig was so small that it fitted inside a hollow sphere just the size of a league base ball.

He told me it was run by a spring motor, which he wound up by twisting it just before he delivered the ball. The steering gear and motor were controlled by small buttons, which he pressed through the cover, “But, say,” I protests. “That ain’t just square, you know.”

“Why not?” he retorts. “There ain’t nothing in the rules against it. You’re the home team now, and you have to provide the ball. This one comes up to the rules. It is nine and one quarter inches ’round the middle, and weighs just a little over five ounces.”

Technovelgy from The Educated Pill, by Bob Olsen.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1928
Additional resources -

Here's how it turned out, when used in a game:

He sure had that vest-pocket, hide-hound flying machine of his trained. The first ball he threw was a snaky, wobbly curve that’d give you the jimjams to look at. The guy at the bat was so buffaloed he forgot to offer at it, and the ump called a strike. Then Snitz gave him his slow come iDack. By the time the slugger had swung at it, it was on its way back to its pa. Next he pressed the buttons for full speed on the motor and hard-a-Iee on the helm; and hurled a beautiful wide out-shoot. Thinking he was going to get hit, the batter jumped back ; but the ball cut a corner off the plate, and sailed around right into the first baseman’s mit without being touched by the catcher or anything else.


(Aeroplane Baseball from 'The Educated Pill' by Bob Olsen)

You’d ought to of heard that crowd yell...

Encouraged by the crowd, he began to pull off some throws even more sensational than before. One of these was a straight ball that traveled in jerks, first fast, then slow ; another would start like a rainbow lob that looked as if it was going ten feet over the catcher’s head, but just before it got to the plate it would take a sudden dip, and come across waist high. But the best one of all was the loop-the-loop drop. This left his paw with an underhanded rise, made a complete somersault in the air about halfway home, and finally ended up with a neat little bow over the home plate. The batter just stood and gawked at it.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Educated Pill
  More Ideas and Technology by Bob Olsen
  Tech news articles related to The Educated Pill
  Tech news articles related to works by Bob Olsen

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