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

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Sebastian
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogJose Reyes and the Question of Responsibility | VICE Sports
(1 - 2:48pm, Jul 01)
Last: Captain Supporter

NewsblogOTP 2016 June 27: Republican comeback after eight years? Yeah, on the baseball diamond
(1741 - 2:48pm, Jul 01)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOT: 2016 Summer Soccer Thread
(1244 - 2:47pm, Jul 01)
Last: Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun)

NewsblogOT: NBA Playoffs Thread 2016
(6444 - 2:45pm, Jul 01)
Last: Der-K should've known better than to fly on AA.

NewsblogMLB must permanently retire ‘God Bless America,’ a song that offends everyone
(1 - 2:41pm, Jul 01)
Last: RMc's Got a Lot of Trouble at Stake

NewsblogIt's Bobby Bonilla's payday ... and every July 1 through 2035 - Mets Blog- ESPN
(22 - 2:33pm, Jul 01)
Last: There's a bustle in Misirlou's hedgerow

NewsblogHeyman - Yankee Intrigue Over Trades And A-Rod - TKB
(2 - 2:06pm, Jul 01)
Last: Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige

NewsblogMLB Penalties For Red Sox International Signings Could Come Soon - BaseballAmerica.com
(8 - 1:58pm, Jul 01)
Last: Jose Remains The Most Absurd Thing on the Site

NewsblogDodgers acquire Bud Norris from Braves
(16 - 1:44pm, Jul 01)
Last: Orange Julius Is the New Black

NewsblogMad hacks: SF ace makes case vs. DH
(11 - 1:41pm, Jul 01)
Last: David Nieporent (now, with children)

NewsblogOmnichatter
(87 - 1:34pm, Jul 01)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogFiring Farrell Will Satisfy Bloodlust, Fix Nothing
(19 - 1:31pm, Jul 01)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogHeyman - Bruce Would 'Very Likely' Waive NTC For Indians
(1 - 1:01pm, Jul 01)
Last: Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim

NewsblogSandy Springs erupts over ‘nightmare’ plan to run Braves traffic through its streets
(55 - 12:35pm, Jul 01)
Last: There's a bustle in Misirlou's hedgerow

NewsblogPhillies prospect Matt Imhof suffers serious eye injury, has surgery
(21 - 12:08pm, Jul 01)
Last: i don't care what the real STIGGLES says right now

Page rendered in 0.1686 seconds
47 querie(s) executed