What's happened to knuckleball pitchers?

There used to be some great knuckleballers in MLB. Admittedly, I don’t follow MLB closely unless the White Sox are in a pennant race, so it’s been a while. Are there any pitchers in the Majors throwing a knuckle ball now?

Because I’m a White Sox fan, I remember Wilbur Wood, who was a 20 game winner. There were multiple great ones, and they could all pitch into their 40s and pitch with just 3 days rest, if necessary. They did, of course beat up their catchers, but it was with slow stuff.

Have the Razorbacks ever had a knuckleball pitcher? I don’t know if there has ever been one anywhere in college ball. Maybe they just all developed the knuckler while in the Majors (or minors)?

Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro come to mind when I think of great knuckleballers.

Other than Niekro, I couldn’t name a knuckleball pitcher, but I know there used to be at least a number who could throw one. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a good knuckleball pitch, but I don’t know why there aren’t any anymore. If there are, I don’t think I’ve heard any of them mentioned for throwing it.

Good question. I’d like to know why its gone out of favor.

Hoyt Wilhelm , Phil’s brother Joe. Lets see, Wilbur Wood, Charlie Hough.

Surely a few throw it today…I’m guilty of not following MLB as closely as I used too. :sunglasses:

The last great knuckleballer was RA Dickey. He began his career as a regular pitcher. But he moved to the knuckleball to extend his career. Which it did.

I highly recommend his book: RA Dickey - Whenever I Wind Up - My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball.

RA was the Cy Young award winner in 2012 with the Mets.

Yup…forgot this guy. Actually had a decent year w the Braves in '17. No takers after.

We see the influence of “Velocity Lust” all the way from first-year kid pitch to HS ball the CWS to MLB. “Finesse pitching” is not a high priority. Of course, finesse pitchers make it to the MLB all the time and are highly successful. Zach Grienke throws in the high 80s most of the time. I’d take him against all but a handful of pitchers any day of the week.

The chase for increased velocity is built on the premise, “if you can’t see it (or catch up to it) you can’t hit it.”

A knuckle ball is the opposite of that. It requires lots of movement to be successful. Youth baseballs are not made consistently enough to guarantee that (at any given time) the ump hands a kid a ball that can be thrown as a good knuckleball. What it becomes, then, is a batting practice pitch that looks as big as a watermelon.

Further, it is a slightly different throwing motion (as I was taught to throw one, anyway) and there is a risk that it injures the arm, or at least screws up the mechanics for non-knuckleball pitches.

It is tough to catch and coaches are hesitant to have their catcher dealing with bad thumb bruises, etc., because they are catching a knuckleball. Other coaches will steal all the time vs a knuckleball pitcher.

I remember reading an article years ago that said the catcher didn’t bother to give the pitcher a target for a knuckler because neither the pitcher nor the catcher knew where a well thrown knuckler might end up.

Scott Tabor threw a knuckleball for the Razorbacks in late 70’s, early 80’s

Thanks. I guess that means he played on the Razorback team that played in the two 1979 CWS championship games that ended with Cal St Fullerton beating us twice. Was Scott a reliever or starter?

Starter. All-time leader in career wins at 34. 4th in career strikeouts.