R.A. Dickey, Phil Niekro and the Top 10 Knuckleball Pitchers of All Time
Just when you thought the knuckleball had seen its last days with the retirement of Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey has renewed baseball’s and the fans’ love-hate affair with the wacky, unpredictable pitch.
Dickey is 12-1 so far this season, pitched back-to-back one-hitters and had a Met-record 32.2 consecutive scoreless innings streak, but he still has a long way to go before he can touch this list – the 10 best knuckleballers (primary pitch) in baseball history.
The 37-year old R.A. Dickey is 50-51 lifetime, but his career may be extended thanks to the very pitch that saved it in the first place. Still, he’ll need a good 100 wins to make the top 10, or maybe a no-hitter or two. You never know.
Anyway on to the list, which has a pretty serious one-two punch at the top. Either one can be considered the greatest knuckleball pitcher, but I gave the edge to starter Phil Niekro who recorded the magical 300 wins. His lifetime ERA wasn’t bad either – and he pitched a no-hitter.
Hoyt Wilhelm was a pitcher ahead of his era, a reliever when there barely was such a thing. He notched 227 saves mostly in the 1960′s and was undoubtedly the best relief pitcher the game had seen since its inception until the 1970′s. Check out the 2.52 ERA. Oh, he threw a no-hitter too, by the way.
Both Phil and Hoyt are in the Hall of Fame.
There’s more to these interesting knuckleballers. How about Eddie Cicotte, the third greatest? He’s not in the Hall of Fame like the top two or Ted Lyons and Jesse Haines behind him. Cicotte has less wins than Lyons and Haines, too. What gives?
As legend has it, Cicotte invented, or at least was the first to throw (or first well-known thrower of), the knuckler. You know how those legend things go. Anyway, he was great at it. Look at his ERA – the best of all the knuckleballers…and the best W-L PCT too.
Cicotte, Lyons and Haines also threw no-hitters, though Lyons tossed his before switching to the knuckler.
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Posted on July 14, 2012, in MLB and tagged all time, baseball, best, cicotte, dickey, history, knuckleball, knuckleballer, knuckler, List, mlb, niekro, pitcher, top, wilhelm. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.