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Monday · May 10 2004

Project Knuckleball at The New Yorker
The knuckleball is one of the oddities that makes baseball fun. No spin, no velocity, all dance and flutter.

…also known as the knuckler, the fingernail ball, the fingertip ball, the flutterball, the floater, the dancer, the bug, the butterfly ball, the moth, the bubble, the ghostball, the horseshoe, the dry spitter, and, curiously, the spinner…

Phil Niekro won 208 of his career 318 wins after age 35 with the knuckleball. Hoyt Wilhelm pitched til he was 50 and Charlie Hough pitched well into his 40s throwing it. It's the pitch for the underdog — the older, slower, non-athletic guy. Some might say…crafty.

Interesting Q&A with Ben McGrath, the author, on the knuckleball's place in baseball.

© 2004 Jason Keglovitz