Monday, August 17, 2009

Knuckler Tonight!

Charlie Haeger will be making his Dodger debut this evening. Why is this notable?

Well, he is a 25 year old knuckleball pitcher- one of only a handful that exist in the majors.

I was going to go into some depth about the pitch, but soon found myself just as mystified as a batter trying to hit the pitch. So, instead, I ran into a bunch of quotes in wikipedia that made me laugh. So here they are.
  • "Knuckleballs suck." ― Geno Petralli after giving up four passed balls in one inning
  • "You're not expected to hit it. [I am] expected to catch it." ― John Flaherty summing up his day catching Tim Wakefield in a spring training game against the Twins by relaying a comment made by fellow catcher Mike Redmond. Flaherty retired the next day.
  • "Like some cult religion that barely survives, there has always been at least one but rarely more than five or six devotees throwing the knuckleball in the big leagues... Not only can't pitchers control it, hitters can't hit it, catchers can't catch it, coaches can't coach it, and most pitchers can't learn it. The perfect pitch." ― Ron Luciano, former AL umpire
  • "There are two theories on hitting a knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works." ― famed hitting coach Charlie Lau
  • "I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait'll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up." ― broadcaster and former catcher Bob Uecker
  • "I never worry about it. I just take my three swings and go sit on the bench. I'm afraid if I ever think about hitting it, I'll mess up my swing for life." ― All-star first baseman Dick Allen
And, of course, we have a great quote from our skipper.
  • "You don't catch a knuckleball, you defend against it." ― Dodgers manager and former catcher Joe Torre
BTW, if you are interested in reading more about the pitch go to the Knuckleball Headquarters.


  1. Wow, 25 is mighty young for a knuckler... If he's any good this could be the start of a 40 year career... I saw your quote from John "Flash" Flaherty in there. He had fallen off of my radar. Where is he is these day? Is he playing or coaching?

  2. I think Flaherty is a broadcaster now with the YES Network covering the Yankees

    No kidding on the age of Haeger. It is very rare for a young pitcher to come out of the minors as a knuckleballer. Usually, a pitcher learns the knuckleball after playing the the majors for awhile, but fails to excel as desired and learns the pitch to add to their repertoire.


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