“It took me a day to learn [the knuckleball] and a lifetime to learn how to throw it for a strike.”
This quote, by pitcher and coach Charlie Hough, is the best way to understand baseball’s most baffling and mysterious pitch. Not even the best practitioners of the art of throwing a knuckleball know where it is going most of the time. As a pitch that floats and comes into the plate in what appears to be slow motion, it is miraculous that those who employ the pitch don’t get creamed all over the park by batters who seem to know that it’s coming.
Including interviews with Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, former All-Stars Wilbur Wood and Tim Wakefield, as well as other famed knuckleballers, Lew Freedman (Clouds over the Goalpost, A Summer to Remember), breaks down the history of this infamous pitch, which it seems can be traced back to Chicago White Sox pitcher Ed Cicotte, as well as its effect on baseball as a whole.
With pitcher R. A. Dickey, who rejuvenated his career from castoff to 2011 Cy Young Award winner, the knuckleball is still a topic of conversation in the sport, and it continues to be one of the many marvels of our national pastime.
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|Publisher:||Sports Publishing LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Lew Freedman is the author of nearly 60 books on sports, including Clouds over the Goalpost and A Summer to Remember, and is the winner of more than 250 journalism awards. A veteran sportswriter, Freedman was formerly a staff writer for the Chicago Tribune and Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as other papers, and lives in Columbus, Indiana.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Where Did the Knuckler Come From? 8
Chapter 2 Who's Who in the Knuckleball World 20
Chapter 3 A Pitcher Could Make the Hall of Fame without Knuckling Under 31
Chapter 4 Those Wild and Crazy Washington Senators 41
Chapter 5 The One-Year Wonder 53
Chapter 6 Hoyt Wilhelm: The Legend Begins 65
Chapter 7 Bob Purkey and Barney Schultz 76
Chapter 8 Hoyt Wilhelm: The Legend Continues 87
Chapter 9 Catchers and Crazies 97
Chapter 10 Eddie Fisher and Friends 109
Chapter 11 Wilbur Wood: The Early Years 121
Chapter 12 Phil Niekro: Another Knuckleball Methuselah 131
Chapter 13 Joe Niekro: Little Brother Makes Good 142
Chapter 14 Wilbur Wood Emerges 154
Chapter 15 Charlie Hough 167
Chapter 16 Phil Niekro II: Not Just Another Knuckle Guy 180
Chapter 17 Jim Bouton Makes a Comeback 191
Chapter 18 Tom Candiotti 205
Chapter 19 Steve Sparks 216
Chapter 20 Knuckleball Hopefuls and the Knuckleball World 225
Chapter 21 Tim Wakefield 240
Chapter 22 R. A. Dickey 259
Chapter 23 Knuckleballers Never Die 273