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Who threw the knuckle ball?

Updated: 9/27/2023
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9y ago

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Phil Neikro, Jim Bouton, Hoyt Wilhelm

The only other knuckleballer right now is Steve Sparks, although the Red Sox have a knuckler in their farm system named Charlie Zink. Recent knucklers include Tom Candiotti and Steve Ontiveros. Others in the past were the Niekro brothers, Joe and Phil; Hoyt Wilhelm (who once threw a no-hitter against the Yankees and retired with an ERA of 2.72!); Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons; Gene Bearden, who won the 1948 AL one-game playoff for the Indians, and won a game in the Series; and Eddie Cicotte, whose nickname was "Knuckles". Wade Boggs once came in to pitch in relief in a blowout and pitched one inning, using a knuckleball.

Mike Mussina's most effective pitch is his "knuckle curve". It's not a pure knuckleball -- it's a hybrid pitch -- and he's had great success using it.

Mike Mussina's most effective pitch is his "knuckle curve". It's not a pure knuckleball -- it's a hybrid pitch -- and he's had great success using it.

Here's a haiku for my favorite pitcher:

Butterfly, whisper Tim Wakefield lofts a pitch that Fades into a hush

Nobody's mentioned Charlie Hough, one of the greatest knuckleball pitchers of all time. I believe he played in the major leagues for about 25 years, maybe from the early-1970s through the mid-1990s.

Wilbur Wood was a left handed knuckballer who pitched from 1961-1978. He was traded from the Pirates to the White Sox after the 1966 season. He spent 1967-1970 as a reliever, the last 3 as a closer and accumulated 56 saves. He was made into a starter in 1971 and won 90 games over the next four seasons, averaging 348 innings pitched, 21 complete games, and 5 shutouts per season over that four year stretch.

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