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(The New York Times)   With the passing of Phil Niekro, has the knuckleball danced and darted into extinction?   (nytimes.com) divider line
    More: Followup, Knuckleball, Cy Young Award, Phil Niekro, Pitcher, greatest knuckleball pitcher, Jim Bouton, National League Cy Young Award, part of the magic of the knuckleball  
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206 clicks; posted to Sports » on 28 Dec 2020 at 10:38 AM (15 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



24 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2020-12-28 7:50:30 AM  
Tim Wakefield is still alive.
 
2020-12-28 8:00:50 AM  
Only if there isn't a single coach out there, willing to teach it to a kid.  I'd like to see a left handed knuckleball pitcher.
 
2020-12-28 8:06:34 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2020-12-28 10:56:29 AM  
Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.
 
2020-12-28 11:13:20 AM  

phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.


I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.
 
2020-12-28 11:14:50 AM  

NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.


Yeah but Doug Mirabelli is the guy that got the police escort just to play catcher.
 
2020-12-28 11:37:42 AM  
Phil Niekro hasn't thrown a pitch since 1987.
 
2020-12-28 11:41:00 AM  
Given that there are knuckleball camps, and every year it's rediscovered at all levels, I'm going to say no.
 
2020-12-28 11:45:43 AM  

yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.


Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


MLB Knuckleballs Getting Destroyed
Youtube UO7pX3OgHYQ
 
2020-12-28 11:52:26 AM  

ChrisDe: Phil Niekro hasn't thrown a pitch since 1987.


Neither has Sonny Gray.  They really need to enforce that pitch clock.
 
2020-12-28 12:04:42 PM  
Wakefield's end-of-career contact with the Red Sox was one of the most elegant things I've ever seen in pro sports.

It was basically "4 million per year, and the team has a perpetual option". It just felt like somebody was tired of agents and negotiations.
 
2020-12-28 12:12:23 PM  
Bullpen Submarine Knuckleball
Youtube CVQhIn9pISg
 
2020-12-28 12:19:19 PM  

NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.


In his first season in AA with the Mudcats, he was an OF before he refined his pitching array.
 
2020-12-28 12:22:37 PM  

lifeslammer: yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.

Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/UO7pX3Og​HYQ]


Yeah, i guess my verbiage wasn't that great.  you're not an average dude if you can throw a great knuckler;  just that a lot of guys were pretty average with every other pitch, but ended up excelling at the knuckleball and became great in their own right.
 
2020-12-28 12:36:52 PM  

lifeslammer: yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.

Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


[iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/UO7pX3Og​HYQ?autoplay=1&widget_referrer=https%3​A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&start=0&enablejsap​i=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&​widgetid=1]


You'd think they'd learn. Don't throw the knuckler. Throw a pitch that people don't hit for home runs.
 
2020-12-28 12:47:28 PM  

lifeslammer: yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.

Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


[iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/UO7pX3Og​HYQ?autoplay=1&widget_referrer=https%3​A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&start=0&enablejsap​i=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&​widgetid=1]


I saw Frank Thomas hit one off of Charlie Hough when he pitched for Tampa. I think that ball is still traveling
 
2020-12-28 1:10:48 PM  

NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.


Oh hai!

cdn.sportsmemorabilia.comView Full Size
 
2020-12-28 2:14:12 PM  

soopey: NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.

Yeah but Doug Mirabelli is the guy that got the police escort just to play catcher.


That was hilarious. As great as Varitek was as a catcher, the one thing he couldn't do is catch Wakefield.
 
2020-12-28 2:19:33 PM  

soopey: NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.

Yeah but Doug Mirabelli is the guy that got the police escort just to play catcher.

All of that ridiculous effort paid off, as Wakefield pitched seven strong innings with Mirabelli back behind the dish in Boston's 7-3 win over the rival Yankees. Not that the state police would do it again, of course.

"As a public safety agency, that was not an appropriate use of our assets," a spokesperson told The Hardball Times.

We'd respectfully disagree.

 
2020-12-28 2:35:42 PM  

millia: Given that there are knuckleball camps, and every year it's rediscovered at all levels, I'm going to say no.


This. 

But you are very unlikely to see a 48 year old pitcher starting games like you did with Phil.
 
2020-12-28 2:59:04 PM  

yakmans_dad: lifeslammer: yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.

Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


[iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/UO7pX3Og​HYQ?autoplay=1&widget_referrer=https%3​A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&start=0&enablejsap​i=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&​widgetid=1]

You'd think they'd learn. Don't throw the knuckler. Throw a pitch that people don't hit for home runs.


So, for Mike Trout that would be an intentional walk?
 
2020-12-28 3:17:12 PM  

foo monkey: yakmans_dad: lifeslammer: yakmans_dad: phedex: Nah.  there will always be an average guy who turns it into his skill pitch, & will have a long and successful career because of it.  not many, but in a sea of pitchers you're going to have a small, small amount of dudes who can do it well and often.

I don't think "average" describes someone with sufficient fine muscle control to throw a knuckleball. Since pitching a knuckleball is easier on your body, if anyone could do it, everyone would do it.

Honestly I think anyone is capable of doing it, but they dont like the pitch itself because it takes far more work to get it right and if it goes wrong in any way.....welll.....

This happens


[iFrame https://www.youtube.com/embed/UO7pX3Og​HYQ?autoplay=1&widget_referrer=https%3​A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&start=0&enablejsap​i=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fark.com&​widgetid=1]

You'd think they'd learn. Don't throw the knuckler. Throw a pitch that people don't hit for home runs.

So, for Mike Trout that would be an intentional walk?


I remember Jason Giambi reach-check-swung one opposite field over the wall at Yankee Stadium and Wakefield just laughed.  There were some days where it didnt matter how he threw it, people got the bat on it and it carried out of the park.  And other days they couldn't touch it and they looked lost swinging at it.

For swing selection, the batters' little saying for the knuckle ball:
If it's high let it fly
If it's low, let it go
 
2020-12-28 4:08:31 PM  
I know easier said than done, but given how rotations and bullpens work nowadays, if I were a GM I would look heavily into investing in either finding or developing a decent knuckleballer. You don't need one who will put up a 3.00 ERA, just one who can maybe have a 4.50 ERA but, more importantly, one who can give you innings. It's more important than ever to have a reliable innings-eater on your staff so that your bullpen arms can be rested on a semi-regular basis. I feel like you're seeing more and more relief aces tire in September and the postseason because of how extensively they're being used, so having a decent knuckleballer on your staff can really have helpful long-term benefits.
 
2020-12-28 4:25:54 PM  

UNC_Samurai: NewportBarGuy: Tim Wakefield is still alive.

In his first season in AA with the Mudcats, he was an OF before he refined his pitching array.


A pretty good example of why there will always be the occasional knuckleballer kicking around.  Like Wake, most successful practitioners of the art just fall into it when they try it out as a last resort when on realizing that they'll never get to or stay in the big leagues, and this is rather common knowledge.  Pretty much any ballplayer who can throw & has made it that far, on realizing that they're probably going to have to give up on baseball is likely to think, "why the hell not, might as well see if I can try to throw one".  The vast, vast majority can not, but every once in a while, like an albino moose, a knuckleball pitcher just shows up out of nowhere like that.  I had some hopes that Steven Wright (no, not that one) would be the next incarnation, but he had...issues.
 
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