Monday, August 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Burleigh Grimes - Vintage Photo of his Spit Ball Grip

Former Dodger and Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes was born on this day in 1893 - 121-years ago.  He pitched for the Dodgers early in his career from 1918 to 1926; having recorded an 158-121 record, 3.46 ERA and 205 complete games for Uncle Robbie's "Daffiness Boys" in Brooklyn.  Overall, he had 270 wins and was indicted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Ol' Stubblebeard, as he was called, is noted for being one of the few players legally allowed to throw a spit ball.  When the pitch was banned in 1920 Grimes, who was 26-years old at the time, was one of only 17 ballplayers exempted from the ban and grandfathered in.  So, he used it to his hearts content and parlayed his skill at throwing the offending pitch into a Hall of Fame career.  By the time he retired in 1934, Burleigh Grimes was the very last spit ball pitcher in the Major Leagues.

In commemoration of his birthday check out this great vintage press photo that I found on eBay showing off his grip for throwing the spit ball, below.  As you can see, it is basically a two-seam fastball grip with a little bit of grease on the side.
(eBay Auction Link)

Below is the reverse of the photograph and includes a byline.
(eBay Auction Link)

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