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Articles Tagged Knuckleball 

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Finding out whether knuckleballs actually flutter, with the help of our friendly neighborhood physicist.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Alan Nathan is Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After a long career doing experimental nuclear/particle physics, he now spends his time doing research in the physics of baseball. He maintains a web site devoted to this topic at http://webusers.npl.illinois.edu/~a-nathan/pob/His younger colleagues at Complete Game Consulting have bestowed upon him the exalted title of Chief Scientist.
 


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Dan continues his series using pitch data by examining the case of Tim Wakefield.

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Rany comes clean about an obsession with the knuckler, and his active interest in the best prospect to throw it in years.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the knuckleball and the men who throw it. Among the many clues I have left in my wake, the most obvious is the time I ignored the objections of a fewokay, all of my colleagues, and attached Charlie Zink to the bottom of our Top 50 Prospects list three years ago. Fortunately, Zink has gone on to great and glorious success since then, completely vindicating my faith in him.

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May 26, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Charlie Zink

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Chaim Bloom

Red Sox pitcher Charlie Zink is a rarity among pitchers: a 24-year-old knuckleballer. As a traditional pitcher in the Sally League, Zink put up a 1.68 ERA in relief in 2002 before the big club converted him to a full-time knuckleball pitcher. Zink posted a 3.90 ERA in High-A last year before improving on that with a 3.43 ERA in 39 innings at AA. This year, he cracked BP's Top 50 Prospects list. We sat down with Zink last week before a road game against the New Britain Rock Cats, and asked him about life as one of baseball's rarest breeds.

Baseball Prospectus: Your college career took you from California to a small Division III school in Georgia, and you even flirted with a pro golf career. How did you get your start in pro baseball?

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March 26, 2004 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: Reverse Lepidoptery

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Steven Goldman

This week's YOU, tenth in an ongoing series looking at today through the looking glass of yesterday focuses on two unusual mammals, one of the marine variety, the other a pitcher with an unusual adaptation. The passing last week of left-handed knuckleball pitcher Gene Bearden, hero of the 1948 American League pennant race, has me missing Stellar's Sea Cow. It's a silly emotion because I've never seen a Stellar's Sea Cow, and neither has anyone living. Stellar's was ejected from the big game back in 1768. Still, to know that there was once such a magnificent creature on this planet and to have missed a chance to see it is quite depressing. Stellar's was the mega-manatee, a huge version of the endangered Florida marine mammal. Like Cecil Fielder, it weighed as much as ten tons and could reach lengths of up to 100 feet. At one time Stellar's had a large range, but due to hunting by primitive fishermen with pointy sticks they hung out exclusively in the Bering Strait by the time they were officially discovered in 1741. The Russians, who found them quite accidentally, exterminated them in about two minutes, give or take 27 years. The eighteenth century is known as the Age of the Enlightenment, which proves that historians have a sense of humor. Having gone back and read what I just wrote, the following now seems sort of trivial. Aspiring writers, avoid this sort of segue: knuckleball pitchers are baseball's version of Stellar's Sea Cow circa 1767. If you were around to follow the game in the 1980s, you had a good chance of seeing at least two starts by a knuckleball pitcher in any given week. Back when it was morning in America, Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, Tom Candiotti, and Charlie Hough made a combined 917 starts (1981-1990), and at times they were each very good. In fact, Hough was consistently one of the best pitchers in the game.

This week's YOU, tenth in an ongoing series looking at today through the looking glass of yesterday focuses on two unusual mammals, one of the marine variety, the other a pitcher with an unusual adaptation. The passing last week of left-handed knuckleball pitcher Gene Bearden, hero of the 1948 American League pennant race, has me missing Stellar's Sea Cow. It's a silly emotion because I've never seen a Stellar's Sea Cow, and neither has anyone living. Stellar's was ejected from the big game back in 1768. Still, to know that there was once such a magnificent creature on this planet and to have missed a chance to see it is quite depressing.

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