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The General Manager’s Undiscovered Secret Weapon: the Knuckleball Pitcher

Knuckleball pitchers are undervalued—even though, once mastered, the knuckleball is devastatingly effective. In part because they are undervalued, knuckleball pitchers are rare. Few teams make the effort to cultivate them. A reliable knuckleballer is clearly an artist. But there is prejudice against the pitch at every level of baseball. The very existence of the knuckleball […]

Your Knuckleball May Add Years to Your Career

An effective knuckleball can both revive the career of a struggling baseball player and make it way more durable. The best knuckleball players have easily outdone most of their colleagues in the career-longevity department. For examples: Ted Lyons, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Charlie Hough, Tom Candiotti, Tim Wakefield. Or Hoyt Wilhelm, our subject last week, […]

And the Best Knuckleballer in History…“throws like a washer-woman”? Plus: Sixth Annual Knuckle Ball

We would not be confident in making the same sweeping judgment. But the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler (or whoever who wrote his headline), is happy to conclude that “Huntersville’s Hoyt Wilhelm was history’s best knuckleball pitcher.” Huntersville being a suburb near the paper’s base of Charlotte, North Carolina, the coincidence is perhaps a little too […]

The Butterfly Effect; Steve Wright’s Recovery; Joe Niekro Foundation’s “Knuckle Ball”

Over at the Sports on Earth blog, Howard Megdal has a fine article about the ups and downs of knuckleballers in general and R.A. Dickey in particular. The pitch that brought R.A. Dickey to prominence, the knuckleball, is a serviceable metaphor for the career paths of many of its practitioners, including Dickey himself. Watch the […]

Knuckleballers Have Good Stories, and Dickey’s May Become A Movie

Doing rare, tough things makes for good story, and this week, courtesy of knuck-news scout Sweta Bhadra, we have a doubleheader. Many successful knuckleballers turn to the pitch late in their careers. But Chelsea Baker, dubbed the “Knuckleball Princess,” seems to have mastered it early on. Per Business Insider: After rising to instant fame thanks […]