The Last Knuckleballer

Discussion in 'Baseball' started by Don Wassall, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    There's never been many knuckleballers, and Tim Wakefield is the only one currently in the majors.


    Never as good as the Niekro brothers, Wakefield is having his best season at the age of 41. With 16 wins he has a shot at 20. Twenty wins has become a rare achievement, and no knuckleballer has accomplished it since Joe Niekro in 1980. It would be a shame if Wakefield is the last of a notable breed of pitcher.


    Wilbur Wood had the best stretch of pitching ever bya knuckler, winning 20 games four straight years from '71 to '74. He was also an amazing ironman, often starting on two days rest. He pitched 376 innings in 1972. In '73 he both won and lost 20 games, finishing 24-20! But other than a five year stretch, Wood was a very mediocre pitcher.
     
  2. Riddlewire

    Riddlewire Master

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    Charlie Haeger, a rookie pitcher with the White Sox, is also a knuckeball pitcher. He was competing for a spot in the rotation earlier this season (lost out to John Danks). He hasn't pitched in a while. I'm not a White Sox fan so I don't know his current status. I'd imagine he's still up there. No real reason to send him down. They stink this year. Everybody caught on to them stealing signs the past two years and now they're back to being lousy with an idiot manager.
     
  3. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Haeger was demoted to the minors on Aug. 2nd. I agree about Guillen -- if he was white he would have been canned for his buffoonery.
     
  4. Solomon Kane

    Solomon Kane Mentor

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    Knuckleballers are great longevity wise--Niekro, Hoyt Wilhelm, Hough, Wakefield. They never have to worry about losing their fastball or the snap on their curve. Either it's knucklin or it ain't---and age has little to do with it.

    Keep knucklin' Wake!
     
  5. foreverfree

    foreverfree Mentor

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    Didn't one time Yankee phenom Jim Bouton develop a knuckler when he was back in the minors in 1968, before the Seattle Pilots gave him a new lease on life as a reliever in 1969 (his Ball Four season)?

    John
     
  6. Extra Point

    Extra Point Hall of Famer

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    Jim Bouton passed away at the age of 80. He had a good career in the majors. He won 20 games once and won two games in the World Series. After he developed arm troubles he developed a knuckleball and continued his career. His book Ball Four gave people an insight of what major league baseball players were really like.

    RIP Jim Bouton
     
  7. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    Ball Four's "insight of what major league ball players were really like" didn't surprise me a bit.
     
  8. Flint

    Flint Mentor Staff Member

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    That's a funny book. Worth a read even today. Bouton was a flaming liberal back when baseball was conservative. He became a bit of a pariah for breaking the code of silence about locker room behavior.
    Its quite tame by today's standards.
     
  9. sport historian

    sport historian Master

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    Commissioner Bowie Kuhn made a big deal of condemning the book and even called Bouton in for a dressing down. All of which sent the book's sales through the roof.

    On the other hand, every club house had a sign saying "What you see here. What you hear here. It stays here." Bouton broke the code and was scorned by most players.
     
  10. Charles Martel

    Charles Martel Hall of Famer

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    Jewish sportswriter Leonard Shecter persuaded Bouton to write the book Ball Four.
     
  11. knightedsoldier5000

    knightedsoldier5000 Guru

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