Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jeremy Stahl: Master of the Knuckleball.

Then, in 2005, Rangers management convinced Dickey that his best hope of having a life in the big leagues was to turn himself into a knuckleball pitcher, or what he described in his book as “the baseball equivalent of a carnival act.” The knuckleball, a slow pitch with virtually no rotation that is infamous for its wild movement and its near impossibility to control, is one that pitchers generally only ever come to late in their careers after more traditional routes have failed them. Only a tiny number of players have successfully tamed the pitch to a sufficient degree to throw it at the top level, and Dickey is currently the only knuckleballer in the Majors.

I have the power!

Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 07:10 AM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: beards, comebacks, knuckleballers, mets

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. puck Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM (#4287935)
I'm surprised this one drew no comments. It's an interview, maybe some of it is old stuff. Or maybe there's just nothing to say other than the game is better with RA Dickey in it.
   2. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: October 30, 2012 at 02:22 AM (#4288089)
Very true.

The only really remarkable thing, imo, is that there's only one, ONE! knuckleballer currently in the majors. It's easy to underestimate how incredibly difficult it is to throw a baseball past major league hitters, but with the fantastic amount of money in the game I'm amazed there aren't a couple of guys who can go six innings with an ERA around 4.75 with a knuckler. You'd think every single minor leaguer who had struggled or was over 25 would have given it a serious try at some point.

That might be a thousand guys in the past decade. Throw in every catcher and middle infielder who can't catch on, and every single pitcher who can't quite cut it in the majors any more, then add every guy who seems condemned to the indy leagues, and you might be up to five thousand potential knuckleballers, WAGgily speaking.
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 30, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4288091)
[2]It's funny that his emergence came at pretty much the same time that Wakefield was headed out. It's almost as if there's a universal law: conservation of knuckleballers.
   4. MFS Posted: October 30, 2012 at 03:24 AM (#4288095)
I have to admit, I am pretty much dickeyed out at this point.
   5. Bug Selig Posted: October 30, 2012 at 07:28 AM (#4288118)
#2 - I feel pretty much the same way. It should be just about every pitcher's (or even crappy hitter, as you say) last resort as he's scratching and clawing to stay in the game. (My first thought was "hanging on by his fingernails" but that seemed too corny.)
   6. spycake Posted: October 30, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4288147)
It's easy to underestimate how incredibly difficult it is to throw a baseball past major league hitters, but with the fantastic amount of money in the game I'm amazed there aren't a couple of guys who can go six innings with an ERA around 4.75 with a knuckler.

I think maybe you're underestimating how incredibly difficult it is to throw a knuckleball past major league hitters, even consistently enough to eat innings or post a 4.75 ERA.

Dickey was almost a 4.75 ERA type pitcher already through 2005, pre-knuckleball (career MLB ERA+ of 90). Then it apparently took him 4-5 years of focusing on and practicing with the pitch, at the AAA and MLB levels, before he became capable of sticking in the majors with it in 2010.

Tim Wakefield is a better example for your proposition, but I suspect there's a reason he's such a unique case, and it's not because others haven't tried.
   7. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: October 30, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4288743)
@6: I probably am underestimating it, but of the 5,000 arms I guessed at, what percent seriously tried the knuckler, at least to the point of reasonably ruling it out? I'd be surprised if as many as 10 percent of those not ruled out by a lack of raw ability tried it.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
BDC
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - March 2015: You’re out, tobacco: Bill would ban products at all California baseball venues
(718 - 7:39am, Mar 06)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogPictures of New Ballpark Food Items « Ben's Biz Blog
(23 - 6:55am, Mar 06)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogPositive Howard looking forward, not behind
(35 - 6:34am, Mar 06)
Last: DJS Fights the Night Mayor!

NewsblogJoe Posnanski's Top 100 Players: No. 40: Eddie Collins
(45 - 6:19am, Mar 06)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

Newsblog‘I thought the bat looked slow': Scouts on A-Rod | New York Post
(27 - 6:19am, Mar 06)
Last: Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogArbitrator will decide whether Josh Hamilton should enter rehab - ESPN Los Angeles
(71 - 5:07am, Mar 06)
Last: Poster Nutbag

NewsblogUPDATE: X-rays confirm fractured left forearm for Giants' Hunter Pence, out 6-8 weeks - Giants Extra
(7 - 2:48am, Mar 06)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogMinor's absence opens opportunities for Stults | braves.com
(3 - 2:07am, Mar 06)
Last: boteman

Newsblog'Boring' Cardinals know how to win
(13 - 1:57am, Mar 06)
Last: boteman

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - March 2015
(310 - 1:14am, Mar 06)
Last: Fourth True Outcome

NewsblogBryan Price wants Reds to run like Pete Rose
(43 - 11:10pm, Mar 05)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogEthier must prove his worth in crowded outfield | MLB.com
(10 - 11:02pm, Mar 05)
Last: Walt Davis

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1902 Ballot
(21 - 10:45pm, Mar 05)
Last: lieiam

NewsblogDavid Wright’s stand is how Mets foster Yankees-like intensity | New York Post
(8 - 10:12pm, Mar 05)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT: NBC.news: Valve isn’t making one gaming console, but multiple ‘Steam machines’
(1592 - 9:11pm, Mar 05)
Last: Random Transaction Generator

Page rendered in 0.1733 seconds
48 querie(s) executed