Guide to the Ponza Pitching Machine Collection (Unprocessed)

Overview +


Collection Number





Number of Containers:  Seven (7) Boxes
Linear Feet:  8.0 Linear Feet


Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Archives
705 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060


This collection consists of photographs, production papers, blue prints, videos, and two pitching machines.


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Preferred Citation

The Ponza Pitching Machine Collection, The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the head of Archives at MAH.  Researchers may be responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material not produced by museum personnel.

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Date Completed


History +

Lorenzo J. “Larry” Ponza (1918-2004) was born in Glenwood, California, near Scotts Valley, the son of Italian immigrants Lorenzo and Mary Ponza. A member of the Santa Cruz High School class of 1934, Larry began working for a local engineering firm, and in 1941 he became a Senior Civilian Supervisor for the U.S. Navy Production Control Office in Pearl Harbor. After returning to Santa Cruz, he began a career as an inventor. He received eight patents for baseball products and in 1952 developed the “Power Pitcher,” the first baseball pitching machine. The machine was the prototype for subsequent pitching machines developed by him and others. In 1974 his machine, the “Hummer,” became a batting practice staple that could be set to imitate fast balls, ground balls, and pop-up flies. In 1983 he designed the “Casey,” in 1987 the “Ponza Swing King,” and in 1988 the “Rookie.” He sold his company in the early 1990s to Athletic Training Equipment Co., of Sparks, Nevada. The original pitching machine is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. When his pitching machine was accepted by the Hall of Fame Larry Ponza was awarded a lifetime donor pass to the hall. His pitching machines and other baseball products are used around the world by youth leagues, high schools, universities, and professional leagues. This collection represents Larry Ponza’s work as a pitching machine inventor.