Archive | Longevity

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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 […]

With Dickey About to Turn 40, Steven Wright, 30, Is “Just Warming Up”; Kind of Like That 19-Inning Sox-Yankees Game on Friday-Saturday

ESPN Red Sox Report’s Gordon Edes (“Knuckleballer Wright could play key role”) does the math re ratio of wins at 30 to total career wins (or career-so-far wins) for celebrated Phi Beta Knucklers. At 30, they’re just warming up. “I was 28, going on 29, when I first got here,” said Tim Wakefield, the most […]

Knuckleball Word of the Day: Longevity

Whatever controversies may buffet the knuckleball, nobody seems to dispute that becoming an effective knuckleballer is an effective way to prolong your career. USA Today’s Ted Berg says of Danny Worth (“Tigers infielder busts out impressive knuckleball in rare relief appearance”): Baseball’s incredibly specialized, and very few full-time pitchers can master the knuckleball on the […]

Late-Blooming Knuckleballers, Part Three

R.A. Dickey, the subject of our previous post on late-blooming knuckleballers, is only the most prominent of today’s knuckleball pitchers, including those who decided to specialize in it only after having already put in a few years of pro ball. (Which is, after all, the typical knuckleballer path. Few start out in pro baseball determined […]

Messed Around with the Knuckleball for Years, and Now…

If you’re a pro knuckleballer who didn’t start out as one, you probably switched to the pitch after reckoning you had no other way to ascend to the next level of play. We’re not sure a full-time knuckleball has to be a pitch “borne of desperation.” (David Lennon’s words, recorded in the documentary “Knuckleball!”) But […]

Dickey: Viola’s “Coming from Darkness” Was Good Prep for His Knuckleball

Four scoreless innings is a good start for a pitcher, and that’s what knuckleballer Frank Viola III served up to batters a week ago in his minor-league debut with the Blue Jays organization. observes that fellow knuckleballer R.A. Dickey had nothing but positive things to say about a player he helped mentor during the […]

A Good Knuckleball Is Hard to Hit

The Detroit Free Press offers an imprecise statement about the trouble a batter may have connecting his bat to a knuckleball. According to the Press’s June 4 story, “Blue Jays’ R.A. Dickey hopeful his knuckleball will miss Miguel Cabrera’s bat,” a good knuckleball “can be a tough pitch to hit if you don’t see it […]

Number One Knuckleballer Won 121 Games After Age 40

In September of 2012, Kyle Thompson of MLB Fan Cave proposed a ranking of the five best knuckleballers “of all time,” suggesting Phil Niekro (1), Tim Wakefield (2), Dutch Leonard (3), Charlie Hough (4), and R.A. Dickey (5). Dickey had just finished his breakout Cy-Young-Award-winning season. Thompson’s suggestion that Dickey “could end up being the […]

Blue Jays Sign Up Tomo Ohka, Now a Knuckleballer

Not long ago we relayed the news that 37-year-old Tomokazu Ohka—a former player with various North American baseball teams then with the Yokohama BayStars—has been developing a knuckleball as his top pitch in hopes of wangling his way back into Major League Baseball. Ohka had turned to the less-body-wrenching pitch after suffering a shoulder injury […]