When a manager asks his pitcher if he can throw strikes and the pitcher replies with something along the lines of “your guess is as good as mine,” one wouldn’t expect the manager to keep said pitcher in the game.
For some pitchers, though, this type of response actually earned the confidence of their managers. These men were and are knuckleballers, players whose entire existence depends upon their ability to control the seemingly untamable.
Yesterday we took a look at a recent documentary made about the unpredictable, dancing knuckleball. Now it’s time to look at the pitch’s importance not just on the silver screen, but also for the men who made it come to life better than anyone else. While nearly everyone who has thrown a baseball has tried it, the reality is that very few can harness it enough to throw it with confidence in a game.
Some players, through guile, talent and a lot of practice, managed to turn this gimmicky pitch into a career-altering staple of their repertoire. What is unique about these hurlers is that they span across generations ranging from pre-integration all the way to the steroid era and present day.
Almost universally, they managed to parlay their new-found skill into a much longer than usual career, with many players' careers lasting well into their 40s.
Through both their skills and longevity, these 10 players have become the greatest knuckleballers in the history of baseball: