The Knuckleball


#1

:slight_smile:
I started this thread because I wanted to get
other pitchers’ opinions on the knuckleball.
I believe that the knuckleball can still be used
profitably in modern baseball.
However, it takes a long time to master the knuckleball.
There is no “right grip” for the knuckleball.
It can be thrown many different ways.
The knuckleball is fading out of baseball.
There are only five MLB knuckleballers that I know of:
the STL Cardinals’ Ryan Franklin (he only throws it occasionally), Boston’s Tim Wakefield, R. A. Dickey, Charlie Hough, and Charlie Zink (I’m not really sure if Zink pitches in the Majors).
I would really love to see a resurgence of the knuckleball.
Thoughts or comments anybody?


#2

I know of two other knuckleballers.
Eri Yoshida (a Japanese pitcher who pitches in the U.S.)
and Chelsea Baker (a young girl from Florida).


#3

Aha, a knuckleball post.

Okay first off I woud like to make a correction, Charlie Hough retired many years ago he has been working with current knuckleballers in private sessions to teach the finer points. I believe you are referring to Charlie Haeger.

Other knuckleball practitioners include Simon Ferrer, Jared Fernandez, Jon Secrist and Bill Downs. These guys pitch A, Japan, Indy League and semi-pro.

I know Sean Flaherty of U. of Miami used to throw it before he gave up baseball and Andrew Connor of Savannah State used to use it before he hurt his elbow.

I believe the knuckleball if a very useful pitch. I believe it still has it’s place in baseball. The problem is, nobody can really coach it and it takes a long long time to figure out how to throw properly. I don’t think anyone really masters it (Hoyt Wilhelm came as close as anyone has though).

The problem I see with it in youth baseball is that kids get too caught up in making their stuff nasty instead of developing their arms and generating the velocity necessary to even throw a knuckleball with movement. Remember the ball still does have to go 50+ for the most part. Without enough velocity the ball does not get a big enough wake of air behind it.

If someone with the genetic makeup and work ethic to throw 95+ could also learn how to effectively use a knuckleball he would be the most dominating pitcher alive, think about it, that would just be sick.

The other problem is that there are so many misconceptions about the knuckleball “push it” they say. NO! DON’T EVER PUSH IT! The proper way to throw this pitch is to fire and follow, the fingertips following the ball out is what kills the spin.

I think the knuckleball has it’s place. I think it is still as useful as ever. I use it myself. In fact the way I use it is one that I think could be extremely effective especially for someone who is blessed with the ability to throw harder than me.

Many people think of it as either a primary pitch or a rarely used pitch. I however believe it could be used in a normal repertoire. Throwing it to set up a fastball and a K or throwing the fastball and using it as an off-speed K pitch. This is how I use it.

Many people also think of the knuckleball as a gimmick pitch but the fact is, a knuckleball exclusive pitcher still needs to mix speeds and location. While pinpoint left and right accuracy is not possible with a knuckleball up and down is, a knuckleballer must throw strikes but also must be able to know when to keep the ball down and when he can sneak a dancer in upstairs.

Glad you are inquisitive about the knuckleball it’s been a while since I’ve gotten the opportunity to comment on it.


#4

Oh and Zink is in AAA, he’s been invited to several training camps and has one or two appearances in the majors for the Red Sox.

Last I heard he was in the Cardinals organization.


#5

I enjoyed reading your comment on the knuckleball.
This past summer was the first that I ever tried throwing the knuckle.
It will take a while to learn.


#6

Thank you, I am sort of the knuckleball guy around here. If you have any questions or need any kind of help don’t hesitate to contact me.

You can reach me via e-mail tj.morrill@hotmail.com

Or you can find me on facebook probably the easiest way to get a hold of me, just look for T.J. Morrill and send me a message along with your friend request so I know who you are.

I’ve been working on the knuckler for a long time and am young and still learning the finer points of throwing it myself. It’s always nice to collaborate with other knuckleballers too so I could even still get ideas from you.

A lot of knuckleballers find that their most enlightening moments come from bouncing ideas off of another knuckleballer. Give me a holler and talk knuckleball with me sometime.


#7

I don’t get to practice throwing the knuckleball that often.
Why?
Nobody wants to catch me.
Sometimes I’ll just go out and throw to the screen from a distance
of roughly 60 feet.


#8

[quote=“CardsWin”]I don’t get to practice throwing the knuckleball that often.
Why?
Nobody wants to catch me.
Sometimes I’ll just go out and throw to the screen from a distance
of roughly 60 feet.[/quote]

Why doesn’t anybody want to catch you?


#9

I throw a knuckle curve as my curveball, sick break and is very easy to throw.


#10

Some people are just wussies and won’t catch. Usually I find another pitcher and say “if you catch me I’ll catch you” that usually works.

I’ve done a lot of throwing against fences, the rec. department doesn’t like me but oh well it works. Before my pitchback broke (when I finally got a fastball) I used to throw in my backyard where there is a natural slope roughly the same as a pitcher’s mound.


#11

Why doesn’t anybody want to catch you?[/quote]

Partly because I throw a knuckleball,
and partly because I don’t have the best control.
I have days where I can hit my spots,
and I have days where I can’t hardly get the ball over the plate.


#12

To be sung to the Christmas carol “O Tannenbaum”:
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball.
"No other pitch can match thee.
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
“How hard it is to catch thee.” 8) Yes, it is a tough one to catch, and I can imagine that some of those guys had never heard of that oversize mitt Paul Richards invented for just that purpose. I’m reminded of an incident involving the 1961 Cincinnati Reds. They had been warming up before a game, and when the game started the bullpen catcher came up to the dugout holding a towel against his mouth. Some one of the players said to him “Finally said the wrong thing, huh?” That catcher uncovered a split lip and snarled, "Don’t be funny! That d— Purkey! He HAS to work on his knuckleball before the game!"
It’s a good idea to have the catcher put on the full gear, all the tools of ignorance, when you want to work on that pitch—it’ll afford some degree of protection.


#13

[quote=“Zita Carno”]To be sung to the Christmas carol “O Tannenbaum”:
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball.
"No other pitch can match thee.
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
“How hard it is to catch thee.”

My family is going to sing at a local care center before Christmas-
maybe we have a new idea for a song. :idea:
Zita Carno- that was brilliant!
:smiley: :slight_smile:


#14

Very funny…kicks off the holiday season very well.


#15

Hey guys, there’s more—I didn’t give you the complete two stanzas of that song. Here they are:
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
"No other pitch can match thee!
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
"How hard it is to catch thee.
"It’s hard to catch, it’s hard to hit,
"The umpires like it not one bit.
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
"No other pitch can match thee.
(second stanza)
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
"No other pitch can match thee!
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball,
"How hard it is to catch thee.
"They throw it hard, they throw it slow,
"No telling where that pitch will go!
"O knuckleball, O knuckleball—
“How tough it is to catch thee.”

And there’s the whole song. Have fun with it. :slight_smile:


#16

Zita Carno-
Did you write that song?
If not, where did you find it?
:?:


#17

CardsWin—
The words are mine. The tune is an old Christmas carol. :slight_smile:


#18

[quote=“Zita Carno”]CardsWin—
The words are mine. The tune is an old Christmas carol. :)[/quote]

Have you written any more baseball-related verses for other songs?
:?:


#19

In fact, I did—a few years ago, while I was thinking about the horrible consequences of too many walks, I happened to read the proceedings of the 1951 N.Y. Baseball Writers’ dinner. Laraine Day—Mrs. Leo Durocher—had written some lyrics, to be sung to “Ghost Riders In The Sky”, but only the first stanza could be located. Idea! I picked up on that, with slight alterations, and wrote three more stanzas of my own to go with the first one, and I called it “Bases On Balls” of course. The whole thing can be found on a CD called “Diamond Cuts: Seventh Inning Stretch”, and every year at the SABR convention this and other baseball-related CDs are available for sale. You can contact Hungry For Music, 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006 or online at www.hungryformusic.com for more information.
And I thought back even farther—one time, years ago when I was a kid, I read something in the Sporting News that stuck with me. It was a portion of a comic strip. The scene: the manager’s office at the ball park. He was trying to make out a lineup and having a pretty bad time of it, and then the clubhouse attendant came in and told the manager that someone had called: “He said you promised to leave some passes for him.” Now the manager really lost it; he slammed his pen down on his desk, jumped up and paced the floor angrily and yelled, "Passes! Passes! That’s all I ever hear! As if our pitchers didn’t supply enough!"
As true now as it was then. :roll:


#20

Let’s get back to the knuckleball now.

Some people love it,
some (most) people hate it.
If somebody asked me why I like the knuckleball,
I’m not sure if I could give them an answer.

It’s hard to throw,
and you never know
where it will go.