June 22nd, 2013
Last night in the RoughRiders’ 6-5 win over the Corpus Christi Hooks, starter Kevin Pucetas pitched a perfect 1-2-3 5th inning. In his most effective inning of the night, it appeared that over half of his pitches were knuckleballs.
Pucetas is known for possessing the knuckleball and is sometimes throwing it in the bullpen, but last night’s game was the first time this season that he utilized the rarely-thrown pitch.
Today, we take a look at other players who have successfully included the knuckleball into their repertoire.
The former Ranger rehabbed with the RoughRiders for four games in 2004, and is famous for transitioning to a knuckleballer. Refining his technique in recent years, he has become one of the top pitchers in the sport, winning the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 with the Mets. He is now playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, and is currently the only major league pitcher regularly throwing the pitch.
“For me, I think it’s a lost art, but I think it’s something that might be coming around again, just because of what R.A.’s been doing,” said the recently-acquired Steven Wright. “He’s definitely giving the knuckleball another look because he’s throwing a harder knuckleball, which a lot of people haven’t seen before, so he’s showing that you can command it, you can keep it in the zone. I mean, his strikeout-to-walk ratio’s amazing. He’s showing that it can be just as effective as someone who’s throwing 95.”
There are a number of pitchers who have made it to the big leagues through the years with their knuckleball, including pitchers such as Tim Wakefield, Joe Niekro, Josh Banks, Charlie Zink, and Charlie Hough. So we ask you: Who is your favorite knuckleballer?
Baseball term of the Day: Knuckleball- a slow baseball pitch that moves erratically and unpredictably and that is thrown with little spin by gripping the ball with the knuckles or the tips of the fingers pressed against the top.
(Definition provided by www.merriam-webster.com)