Sanity Break: Flight of the Knuckleball

My brother-in-law has had to be hospitalized for his dementia, and who knows how it’ll turn out? Please pray for him.

Meanwhile, permit me this indulgence. All my life I’ve wanted to throw a knuckleball, and have yet to accomplish it. Watch the video and see how the ball wobbles and wanders on its way to the catcher, who almost drops it. No wonder it’s so hard to hit.

The shortstop on our softball team, Sandy, had a terrific knuckleball. You really couldn’t tell where it was going to go. It’s hard to describe what I saw while waiting to catch it. A softball isn’t supposed to flutter like a moth! As a first baseman, I used to dread the possibility that someday Sandy would give in to temptation and throw me one of these fluttering moths during a game; but he never did.

It’s raining now, so I can’t go outside and try again with some black walnuts. By the time I was fifty I’d finally mastered the curveball, then the screwball; but the knuckleball continues to elude me. I’ll keep trying, though. It’s goofy things like this that keep you young.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

10 responses to “Sanity Break: Flight of the Knuckleball

  • UnKnowable

    That’s an amazing feat. I assume there’s some very precise technique to make that happen, but I have no idea what that would be.


    • leeduigon

      You’re supposed to grip the ball (or the walnut) with your knuckles or your fingernails and somehow prevent it from rotating after you throw it, which makes it subject to air currents and other variations. I haven’t been able to manage that. Yeah, I just went out and tried again.


  • Linda Sorci

    Prayers for your brother-in-law and your family, Lee.

    As for the knuckleball, I tried to see how the pitcher was throwing it, but that part of the clip is so fast, it’s hard to see. The one thing I think I saw was how he gripped it – with his fingernails, knuckles protruding somewhat. And it looks more like he’s pushing it forward out of his hand with the heel of his hand rather than actually throwing it with the force of his arm. Of course, I’m no expert in throwing any kind of baseball lol


  • Ina

    Sorry to here about your brother-in-law. Will pray for him.


  • thewhiterabbit2016

    I played catcher in Little League. One finger was for fast ball, two for curve, and three for change-up. No sign for a knuckle-ball.


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