Knuckleball Quotes

Phil Niekro BravesBaseball players have said some funny and telling things about the knuckleball over the years. Here are a few of our favorites.

Richie Allen

1972 AL MVP and 7 time All-Star

“I never worry about it. I just take my three swings and go sit on the bench. I’m afraid if I ever think about hitting it, I’ll mess up my swing for life.”

Ernie Banks

Cubs Hall of Fame Shortstop

“He simply destroys your timing with that knuckleball. It comes flying in there dipping and hopping like crazy and you just can’t hit it.”

Jimmy Cannon

New York Post Journalist

“Q: What’s a knuckleball? A: A curveball that doesn’t give a damn.”

Richie Hebner

Former ML 3B and current Minor League hitting coach

“Hitting Niekro’s knuckleball is like eating soup with a fork.”

Todd Helton

Rockies slugger and future Hall of Famer

“I don’t want to see another one.”

Randy Hundley

Former Cubs catcher and 1969 NL All-Star

“You see the ball and you just know you’ve got a bead on it, then you swing, and poof, it’s not there anymore.”

Charlie Lau

Highly-regarded hitting guru

“There are two theories on catching the knuckleball…unfortunately, neither of the theories work.”

Joe Mathis

Former Minor League and Indy ballplayer

“The thing is like a piranha, it’s got bite.”

Tim McCarver

Longtime Major League catcher and current sportscaster

“Hitting that thing is like trying to catch a butterfly with tweezers.”

Rick Monday

Two-time All-Star and 1981 World Series Champ

“When I swing, don’t laugh.”
“It giggles as it goes by.”

Bobby Murcer

Yankees great and five-time All-Star

“Trying to hit against Phil Niekro is like trying to eat Jell-O with chopsticks. Sometimes you get a piece but most of the time you get hungry.”

Tim Owens

Former coach

“The knuckleball screws up a hitter’s mind.”

John Kruk

Three-time All-Star and television analyst

“I’d rather have my leg cut off than do that all day. You just hope it hits your bat in a good spot.”

Pete Rose

MLB’s all-time hits leader

“I work for three weeks to get my swing down pat and Phil messes it up in one night.”
“Trying to hit that thing is a miserable way to make a living.”

Willie Stargell

Pirates Hall of Fame 1B/OF

“The knuckleball is like a butterfly with hiccups.”

Joe Torre

Former ML catcher and manager

“You don’t catch the knuckleball, you defend against it.”

Bob Uecker

Broadcaster, actor, comedian, and former Braves catcher for Phil Niekro

[On the best way to catch a knuckleball:] “Wait’ll it stops rolling, then go pick it up.”

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