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Old knuckleballer cracks first All-Star team
Yahoo! Sports ^ | 070509 | Gordon Edes

Posted on 07/06/2009 12:09:33 PM PDT by Artemis Webb

BOSTON – Tim Wakefield was in the weight room when Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell ducked his head in Sunday morning and said that the knuckleballer was wanted in Terry Francona’s office.

The office door was closed when Wakefield arrived; when it opened, Wakefield saw a stream of teammates – Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett and Jason Bay – all walking out with All-Star packets for the July 14 game in St. Louis. Francona, with a solemn face, beckoned for Wakefield to enter.

The charade didn’t last. Francona, a better manager than actor, cracked up, and informed Wakefield that he, too, was an All-Star for the first time in his 17-year career. Wakefield was added to the American League staff by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon after the players voted in five starters and three relievers, proving, to paraphrase Muhammad Ali, that a knuckleball can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

“I feel very honored and humbled at the same time, excited and nervous,” said Wakefield, a failed minor league first baseman who took up the knuckleball as a last chance to salvage his career, had a sensational rookie debut with Pittsburgh in 1992 only to be released three years later, was grabbed off the scrap heap by Boston and now ranks as elder statesman on the Red Sox.

At 42 years and 346 days, Wakefield becomes the second-oldest player to make his All-Star debut, behind only the legendary Satchel Paige, who was 46 years and 1 day when he represented the St. Louis Browns at the 1952 game.

(Excerpt) Read more at sports.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Massachusetts
KEYWORDS: baseball; mlb; redsox
Look at that grip.


1 posted on 07/06/2009 12:09:33 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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I wish, oh HOW I WISH, I could learn to throw a knuckleball better than anyone. Of course, I guess that’s the desire of a lot of 30-something men out there.


2 posted on 07/06/2009 12:10:48 PM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: Artemis Webb

God bless him!


3 posted on 07/06/2009 12:13:31 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Pray for, and support our troops(heroes) !! And vote out the RINO's!!)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

The Neikro brothers were good knuckleballers. Watch some old video of them. I loved watching Phil warm up or just mess around in the bullpen at Atlanta-Fulton county Stadium. Good times! Bad team though.


4 posted on 07/06/2009 12:16:14 PM PDT by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: Artemis Webb

Really glad for Wake.
He is one of the really good guys in baseball.


5 posted on 07/06/2009 12:18:30 PM PDT by WoodstockCat (General Honore: "The storm gets a vote... We're not stuck on stupid.")
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To: Artemis Webb

A good guy on and off the field gets a chance to partake in the All-Star game. Meanwhile cheaters A-Rod and Manny are home. Something feels right about that state of affairs.


6 posted on 07/06/2009 12:19:05 PM PDT by misterrob (A society that burdens future generations with debt can not be considered moral or just)
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To: Artemis Webb
I remember when one of the Niekro brothers (I think it was Phil) pitched in an All-Star game. The catcher had a hell of a time working with him -- I think there were two or three passed balls in the inning he worked, just because the ball moved around so strangely.

Should be interesting to see how Wakefield's catcher fares.

7 posted on 07/06/2009 12:20:49 PM PDT by r9etb
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To: aliquando
Wasn't Dale Murphy with the Braves at the same time Phil Neikro was? I met Murphy at a mall food court in the early 90’s. I just wanted to shake his hand, I was like a kid, embarrassed by my excitement. I'll never forget it.
8 posted on 07/06/2009 12:22:18 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: GOPsterinMA; IndyTiger; henkster; JerseyJohn61; TennTuxedo; Mr_Moonlight; BatGuano; refreshed; ...
BASEBALL PING LIST

If you would like to be on the ping list let me know.

This will be a medium volume ping list during the baseball season and a low volume ping list when all life stops in late October.

9 posted on 07/06/2009 12:23:01 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: Artemis Webb

Yes, Murph came up in the late 70’s and was with the club until 89 I think. Great guy! He would always sighn autographs at the stadium.


10 posted on 07/06/2009 12:24:27 PM PDT by aliquando (A Scout is T, L, H, F, C, K, O, C, T, B, C, and R.)
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To: Artemis Webb

in another sterling example of the sort of baseball geniuses who have been running the Pittsburgh Pirates, they determined that Wakefield was washed-up and sent him packing...in 1994! They have not smelled .500 since. Good for ya, Timmy!


11 posted on 07/06/2009 12:24:33 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: misterrob
"A good guy on and off the field gets a chance to partake in the All-Star game. Meanwhile cheaters A-Rod and Manny are home. Something feels right about that state of affairs."

I wish that was true of things beyond baseball...but thank God for baseball.

12 posted on 07/06/2009 12:26:05 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: Artemis Webb

Until you’ve actually thrown a knuckleball, the way it’s supposed to be thrown, it’s hard to have an appreciation of just how amazingly weird it looks in flight.

I was a pitcher in my younger days, and have perhaps thrown a dozen or fewer “perfect” knuckleballs (out of hundreds of attempts), but I’ll never forget what it looks like. Your jaw drops because it’s hard to believe what your eyes have just seen. I never had to try to hit a good knuckleball pitcher.


13 posted on 07/06/2009 12:28:31 PM PDT by MarineBrat (The New York Times is a Communist Kamikaze.)
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To: Artemis Webb

Watching his pitches in slow motion is really awesome, and, if he pitches in the All-Star Game, his catcher is really going to be “in hell”.


14 posted on 07/06/2009 12:32:01 PM PDT by johnthebaptistmoore (Conservatives obey the rules. Leftists cheat. Who probably has the political advantage?)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

“It Happens Every Spring”

(Though Kelly was a cheat.)


15 posted on 07/06/2009 12:34:48 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: aliquando
There was a famous incident of Dale Murphy losing his temper in the late 80’s. Murphy was known for being a very straight arrow (he was a devout Mormon). A fan was yelling a constant stream of profanity right above the Braves dugout. This went on for some time and finally Dale Murphy popped out, red faced and huge neck veins bulging. He pointed right at the foul mouthed fan and told him to shut up, which the fan did until security came and hauled him away.
16 posted on 07/06/2009 12:36:54 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: Artemis Webb

I remember Phil Niekro being on a few All-Star teams but didn’t get to pitch in the game because no one on the roster could catch his knuckleball.


17 posted on 07/06/2009 12:37:12 PM PDT by Ticonderoga34 (Liberals are hypocrites and phonies. Associate with them at your own risk.)
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To: Artemis Webb
There was a famous incident of Dale Murphy losing his temper in the late 80’s. Murphy was known for being a very straight arrow (he was a devout Mormon). A fan was yelling a constant stream of profanity right above the Braves dugout. This went on for some time and finally Dale Murphy popped out, red faced and huge neck veins bulging. He pointed right at the foul mouthed fan and told him to shut up, which the fan did until security came and hauled him away.

I remember that incident. Murphy was upset because the unruly fan was yelling profanities within earshot of kids in the stands.

Even when he lost his temper, Dale Murphy was still a straight arrow.
18 posted on 07/06/2009 12:40:54 PM PDT by Ticonderoga34 (Liberals are hypocrites and phonies. Associate with them at your own risk.)
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To: zert_28
I can't remember if it was Joe Garagiola or Bob Uecker who said that the correct way to catch a knukleball was to “jump out of the way, let it roll to the backstop then pick it up”.
19 posted on 07/06/2009 12:41:33 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: MarineBrat

[I was a pitcher in my younger days, and have perhaps thrown a dozen or fewer “perfect” knuckleballs (out of hundreds of attempts), but I’ll never forget what it looks like. Your jaw drops because it’s hard to believe what your eyes have just seen. I never had to try to hit a good knuckleball pitcher.]

I used to help train my younger brother in high school,he was really pretty good. A good knuckleball is a sight to behold, a bad one sails over the fence.


20 posted on 07/06/2009 12:43:24 PM PDT by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: johnthebaptistmoore
Watching his pitches in slow motion is really awesome, and, if he pitches in the All-Star Game, his catcher is really going to be “in hell”.

Yeah, I doubt Mirabelli will be playing.

21 posted on 07/06/2009 12:44:21 PM PDT by Travis T. OJustice (I can spell just fine, thanks, it's my typing that sucks.)
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To: MarineBrat

You mean until you’ve actually CAUGHT a knuckleball...


22 posted on 07/06/2009 12:50:34 PM PDT by andrew2527
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To: FastCoyote
A good knuckleball is a sight to behold, a bad one sails over the fence.

Ain't it the truth. And the difference between a decent knuckleball and a bad one is slim. Just a 1/2 a rotation or so.

23 posted on 07/06/2009 12:53:04 PM PDT by MarineBrat (The New York Times is a Communist Kamikaze.)
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To: Artemis Webb

Very happy for him. As others have stated, he’s a great human being. A real gamer, too. He’s been asked to do pretty much everything and anything and he always steps up. Chews up innings (most of the time) so they don’t have to dip into middle relief any more than they have to.

I have yet to see him on Charlie Moore’s show but I hear it’s about as fun as it can get watching someone fish.


24 posted on 07/06/2009 12:56:12 PM PDT by RedCell (Honor thy Father (9/6/07) - Semper Fi / Declaration of Independence - 5th sentence)
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To: Travis T. OJustice

Joe Mauer of the Twins will be starting catcher.
I believe they have a knuckleballer on the pitching staff.


25 posted on 07/06/2009 12:59:18 PM PDT by toast
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To: andrew2527
You mean until you’ve actually CAUGHT a knuckleball...

I have caught them playing catch, but never behind the plate in a real game. And now that I think about it, catching a good knuckleballer would be a daunting task. I do think though that the actual joy of watching that sucker wiggle is best viewed from the mound. :)

26 posted on 07/06/2009 12:59:48 PM PDT by MarineBrat (The New York Times is a Communist Kamikaze.)
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

Here you go: http://www.knuckleballhq.com/

I can still throw a devastating knuckleball. Trouble is, it only travels 59 feet.


27 posted on 07/06/2009 1:02:10 PM PDT by RazzPutin ("You have told us more than you can possibly know." -- Niels Bohr)
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To: Artemis Webb
When I was a kid Hoyt Wilhelm was the best knuckle ball pitcher and may be the best that ever threw the knuckle ball.
28 posted on 07/06/2009 1:03:01 PM PDT by longhorn too
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To: Arkansas Toothpick

I can throw a doozy knuckler with a 12 inch softball, but I have tried several grips and can’t do very well with a baseball.


29 posted on 07/06/2009 1:16:02 PM PDT by day10 (Integrity has no need of rules.)
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To: Artemis Webb

For the Red Sox Wakefield has been everything. He has started, worked long and short relief and has been the closer. And they got him off waivers. What a deal.


30 posted on 07/06/2009 1:26:42 PM PDT by Phlap (REDNECK@LIBARTS.EDU)
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To: Phlap

And his contract is like none other in baseball. Basically its a handshake, 1 year deal $5 million per. If he’s up to it, he comes back. If Sox say enough’s enough, he retires.


31 posted on 07/06/2009 2:03:45 PM PDT by nhwingut (The media's love affair with Obama reminds me of a dog humping a telephone pole.)
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To: misterrob; GraniteStateConservative; TheRedSoxWinThePennant; SE Mom; raccoonradio; mainepatsfan; ...
A good guy on and off the field gets a chance to partake in the All-Star game. Meanwhile cheaters A-Rod and Manny are home. Something feels right about that state of affairs.

Well said, misterrob. Congratulations to good-guy Tim Wakefield! I'm so happy for him...

32 posted on 07/06/2009 2:06:17 PM PDT by nutmeg (Sarah and Todd Palin and the Deadliest Catch captains should run this country)
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To: Artemis Webb

The perfect pitch in baseball, and seen far too infrequently! I give you.... The knuckle ball!

I’ve only batted against one person who could throw one... It was like chasing a mouse!


33 posted on 07/06/2009 2:36:41 PM PDT by Freeport (The proper application of high explosives will remove all obstacles.)
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To: nutmeg

Two quotes: “The easiest way to catch a knuckleball is to wait for it to stop rolling and then pick it up.” -???

“You don’t want a knuckleballer pitching to or for your team.” - a paraphrase from Tommy Lasorda


34 posted on 07/06/2009 2:41:10 PM PDT by szweig (Had it up to here)
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To: RedCell
"Very happy for him. As others have stated, he’s a great human being. A real gamer, too. He’s been asked to do pretty much everything and anything and he always steps up. Chews up inning...

That is one great thing about knuckleballers, the wear and tear on their arm is much less than other pitchers so they have longevity both in playing years and innings pitched per game.

35 posted on 07/06/2009 3:21:48 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
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To: nutmeg

It should be fun watching Wake baffle them in the All Star game. :-)


36 posted on 07/06/2009 3:32:18 PM PDT by Red Steel
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To: Artemis Webb
Delighted to see it. The team I root for has a couple of deserving guys who didn't make the All-Star squad, but I'd swap Wakefield in there for any of them. There is a guy who has done everything, been everywhere, total gamer, just a great player.

We had a catcher (which one escapes me at the moment) who had a special glove for knuckleballers that I thought was some sort of gag when first I saw it. Thing was enormous. And it wasn't big enough.

37 posted on 07/06/2009 3:37:24 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Artemis Webb; szweig

Bob Uecker said it: “The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up.”


38 posted on 07/06/2009 5:42:13 PM PDT by Hebrews 11:6 (Do you REALLY believe that (1) God is, and (2) God is good?)
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To: r9etb
"How do you catch a knuckleball? Wait until it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up."

--- Bob Uecker

39 posted on 07/06/2009 6:09:05 PM PDT by Mr_Moonlight
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To: nutmeg
Folks I know who have bumped into him in Boston say hes the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet.

Remember when Dante Bichet (sp?) tried to learn the knuckleball? Poor devil - it just didnt work out.

40 posted on 07/06/2009 6:21:20 PM PDT by warsaw44
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To: misterrob; nutmeg

Very happy for Wake. Class act.


41 posted on 07/06/2009 6:24:34 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Anyone pushing Romney must love socialism...Piss on Romney and his enablers!!" ~ Jim Robinson)
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To: szweig
"“You don’t want a knuckleballer pitching to or for your team.” - a paraphrase from Tommy Lasorda"

Must've been before Tom Candiotti won 50+ games for him from 92-96. He never had a winning record for him, though. I wonder if Piazza had to catch for him.

42 posted on 07/06/2009 6:34:16 PM PDT by RabidBartender (Democracy fails when the majority starts voting themselves presents from the public treasury - unk.)
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To: RabidBartender

Oops - forgot to close the tag.


43 posted on 07/06/2009 6:34:47 PM PDT by RabidBartender (Democracy fails when the majority starts voting themselves presents from the public treasury - unk.)
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To: Artemis Webb
Way to go Wakefield.

One of my favorite BoSox

Well Deserved!!
44 posted on 07/07/2009 7:08:59 AM PDT by marine86297 (I'll never forgive Clinton for Somalia, my blood is on his hands)
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To: Artemis Webb

My left-handed mit was an RBG 36 Dale Murphy signature. I had it from my softball days through my youth baseball coaching days. My sons had no idea who he was. For a while he was the only decent player in Atlanta.


45 posted on 07/07/2009 7:10:55 AM PDT by henkster (Bumper Sticker: Please don't tell 0bama what comes after a Trillion!)
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