Before Alex Wood took the mound for the L.A. Dodgers in Game 4 of the World Series, a 7-year-old girl named Hailey Dawson stared down catcher Jose Altuve with a baseball in her hand. But it wasn’t just any hand. It was 3-D printed limb.
Hailey hit the headlines in September when she declared she wanted to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and ever Major League ballpark. She did so for teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals. Then a huge opportunity was presented to her: Toss one from the mound at the 2017 World Series.
The Las Vegas girl was born with Poland syndrome which caused her to come out of the womb with three fingers on her right hand. Knowing she wanted to throw a baseball among other things, her parents reached out to UNLV professors and students, asking them if they could 3-D print her a prosthetic hand. They worked their magic and made it happen.
Hailey took to the field at Minute Maid Park Saturday night in a Houston Astros jersey and a new World Series-themed 3-D printed hand with the words “Vegas Strong” on it. She wound up and fired a hot one to Altuve. And, the crowd went wild.
— Play Ball (@PlayBall) October 29, 2017
According to SportTechie, the design is perfect for throwing a baseball.
“The fingers open and close as she flicks her wrist up and down. As she winds up to throw a pitch, she begins with her wrist in a down position so that he fingers clasp around the ball (try it with your own hand — your relaxed fingers will naturally open and close depending on which way you flick your wrist).
As she forces her hand forward toward her target — baseball catchers — she lifts up her wrist so that her fingers loosen, releasing the ball. A 30-pound weight, which Hailey worked up to from just 5 pounds initially, adds power to her throw.”
And MLB players have taken notice:
Great job with the first pitch tonight Hailey, u were awesome! pic.twitter.com/P4OBLcnDLc
— Anthony Rizzo (@ARizzo44) October 29, 2017
— Marathoner (@marathoner) October 29, 2017
Forget aspiring to throw like a girl. We’re all going to aspire to throw like Hailey.