The Story of the Shadunker


My brothers and I in Torrey Pines National Park 2012Back in the summer of 2011, I posted about how I had assembled my own glove trick, the nifty contraption invented by professional ballhawk Zack Hample that is used by fans to pick up baseballs out of reach below them. I described how my brother thought the innovation was ridiculous and that he could assemble a device of his own in a much simpler manner. He explained what he thought might work and said something along the lines of this:

“Cut out the bottom of a water bottle and put some cement in the top to weight it down. Make the hole just the size of the ball and drop it down on top and SHA-DUNK! You have yourself a ball shadunker.”

So from that point on, the glove trick was known as the “shadunker” in our house. The water bottle device never came to be, but the name stuck. I avoided using the term on this blog simply because it wouldn’t be recognized by anyone who actually knew what the glove trick was. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize the term should be used. “Glove trick” sounds formal and serious, as though the device should be recognized in some sort of official manner. But the fact is that concept of a gizmo that can be lowered over top of a sitting baseball and attach it so that it can be raised and enjoyed by whomever wants it The shadunkeris completely ridiculous. It takes baseball fandom (or nerd-dom) to a new level of dorkiness, and the name of the machine should reflect that.

Shadunk,” my brother asserted, is the hypothetical sound that would be made when the ball retrieval device latches onto the baseball. It’s a nifty word, and it’s fun to say as well. So from this point forward I will do my best to remember to call the shadunker by its rightful name, and hopefully there will be many baseballs in the future that will be subjects of this contraption.

See my shadunker in action in this video from the other day:

Author: Steve Miller

Steve Miller has been baseball blogging since 2011. He is the Sports Editor at the University of Dayton's Flyer News. Email: h2rsteve@gmail.com

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