Knuckleballers are few and far between, but that wobbly thing that floats out of their hand has spawned a litany of witty quotations, whether about throwing it, hitting it, catching it and the nature of the pitch itself. And the knuckleball is like poetry in its own right -- only it wouldn't rhyme, due to its unpredictable nature. Former American League umpire Ron Luciano once said, "Like some cult religion that barely survives, there has always been at least one but rarely more than five or six devotees throwing the knuckleball in the big leagues . . . Not only can't pitchers control it, hitters can't hit it, catchers can't catch it, coaches can't coach it and most pitchers can't learn it. The perfect pitch." (That's more like a soliloquy than a pithy quote so that won't make the list.)
Jim Bouton, of course, once wrote a whole book, Ball Four, based on his season with the Seattle Pilots in 1969, when he attempted to reinvent himself as a knuckleball pitcher, and that is probably the most quote-worthy book in the annals of baseball tomes. So, in honor of R.A. Dickey making his first All-Star team and being named the NL Pitcher of the Month for June (5-0, 0.93 ERA), here are the Top 5 quotes about that wily of all pitches, the knuckleball. And Dickey himself said, "I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about it. A lot of times I think it gets a bad rap as far as the unpredictability goes, and the fact that people don't feel like it's a trustworthy pitch."
5. Charley Lau: "There are two theories on hitting the knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works."
4. Jason Varitek: "You know, catching the knuckleball, it's like trying to catch a fly with a chopstick."
3. Bob Uecker: "The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up."
2. Richie Hebner: "Hitting Niekro's knuckleball is like eating soup with a fork."
1. Willie Stargell: "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox."