NY Sportsday reports that in an interview with David Cone, former Red Sox knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield hinted that he might one day consider a job as a fulltime pitching coach. Asked if he harbored any interest in such a position, Wakefield was quick to shoot down the notion…but with an interesting qualifier.
“No, no, no, no, no, I don’t want that job right now. [Our emphasis.] That’s too full-time and I have two little kids at home.”
Little kids often get bigger, in our experience.
Speaking of career-shift hints, fellow knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is somewhat more openly intimating that he would not take amiss any imminent departure from his current team and current league. Via AndrewStoeten.com:
Yeah, you know, I certainly am open to going wherever—whoever wants me—but I do see myself pitching somewhere other than Toronto in the future…. You get curious about playing different places, right? I’ve never really been able to make my own decision about where I play, right? I’ve always either been traded or been part of an organization that I’ve already been with…or drafted by…. I’m 40 years old now, and you think, once your time ends somewhere there might be a place that you’ve always wanted to play that you might have a chance to play at.
And he would be happy to run bases again:
[The National League is] a fun league in which to pitch, because you’re getting to impact your game, and you’re getting to run the bases — and you’re getting to be a kid. You know, it’s fun. It’s fun to run and slide and get dirty…. In the American League you pitch, you go in and you sit down and you wait for your time to pitch again…. So you’re not as involved in the games….
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A blog devoted to Kellogg’s baseball cards starts by noting the writer’s ample collection of paper-route-funded Topps cards featuring Hawaiian Mike Lum, who played for 15 seasons, then takes up the case of Hawaii-born Charlie Hough (“Do Knuckleball Pitchers Get Kellogg’s Baseball Cards?”). The answer to the parenthetic and titular query is “Yes, they do.”
Hough “started his 25-year career in 1970…slowly.”
He pitched 12 times in his first three seasons. In 1976 he recorded 18 saves and a 12-8 record in 77 games.
Going into 1977 he had 30 career saves, 28 career wins and 0 career starts. That’s almost equal to his 27 hit-by-pitches. Somehow, he got onto a Kellogg’s card in 1977.
Hough started 26 games in his first 12 years and then 414 during the next 13 years. That’s exactly opposite to the path of all other pitchers. His knuckleball certainly helped that.
Such is often the initial pace (slow) and ultimate staying power of the successful knuckleballer, who may take a while to settle into his wayward but resilient career (and pitching) groove.
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Alert for knuckleball-fan doers of crossword puzzles: Crossword Giant and other clue-accruing web sites are alerting visitors that the answer to the “knuckleball pitcher Phil” clue is “Niekro.” Other “Niekro”-answered clues include “Phil who was a five-time Gold Glove winner,” “Knuckleballer Phil,” “Hall of Fame pitcher since ’97,” and “Baseball Hall-of-Famer nicknamed Knucksie.” You’re welcome.