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 Yost (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. Shock 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

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
cardsfanboy
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJAYSON STARK ON THE WINTER MEETINGS: “I’M ONLY GOING TO REPORT INFORMATION THAT I AM CONFIDENT ABOUT”
(8 - 2:09am, Dec 09)
Last: Joyful Calculus Instructor

NewsblogAstros discuss deal for Jose Quintana, but White Sox want a haul - Houston Chronicle
(14 - 2:05am, Dec 09)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOTP: 5 December 2016: Baseball's New Collective Bargaining Agreement
(1224 - 1:23am, Dec 09)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogPablo Sandoval got 'complacent' with big Red Sox deal
(25 - 1:11am, Dec 09)
Last: Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman

NewsblogNationals acquire outfielder Adam Eaton | MLB.com
(61 - 1:10am, Dec 09)
Last: madvillain

NewsblogWould O's fans really hate Bautista if the team signed him? | Sports on Earth
(12 - 1:09am, Dec 09)
Last: DFA

NewsblogOT: NBA 2016-17 Preseason Thread
(1285 - 12:31am, Dec 09)
Last: madvillain

Newsblog2016 Rule 5 Draft results | MLB.com
(32 - 12:29am, Dec 09)
Last: Make Meatwad great again

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1999 Discussion
(5 - 9:47pm, Dec 08)
Last: DL from MN

NewsblogCards would have to leave comfort zone to land outfielder they desire | stltoday.com
(11 - 9:45pm, Dec 08)
Last: cardsfanboy

Gonfalon CubsCubs roster update - post Winter Meetings
(9 - 9:07pm, Dec 08)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogPhillies prospect Mickey Moniak adds 20 pounds of muscle
(58 - 8:50pm, Dec 08)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogHoly Toledo! Bill King is Hall of Fame announcer, finally
(16 - 8:24pm, Dec 08)
Last: No.19

NewsblogBlue Jays trying to balance objective evaluation, subjective exuberance - Sportsnet.ca
(9 - 7:37pm, Dec 08)
Last: John Northey

Gonfalon CubsStarting to think about 2017
(107 - 5:33pm, Dec 08)
Last: Moses Taylor, Unwavering Optimist

Page rendered in 0.1680 seconds
47 querie(s) executed