Petralli put it best

Assuming that the recently overhyped ‘gyroball’ is nothing more than baseball’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, it’s safe to say that the knuckleball still stands as the most intriguing pitch in the game today. When a knuckleballer is on, as Boston’s Tim Wakefield was on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre, opposing hitters are likely in for a very frustrating night.

The Blue Jays got a firsthand look at the knuckleball in 1991 after they acquired Tom Candiotti in late June to help make a playoff push. The right-hander was inserted into the starting lineup, and went 6-7 with a 2.98 ERA in 19 regular season contests to help lead the Jays to the American League East title. Candiotti also got the nod in Game 1 of the ALCS versus the Twins, who countered with future Blue Jay Jack Morris. The latter hurler came out the victor in that contest, and the Twins went on to win the series four games to one.

Before Candiotti’s time, perhaps the most successful knuckleballer ever was aGeno_petralli member of the Blue Jays. Hall of famer Phil Neikro brought his 318 career victories to Toronto after being acquired from the Indians on August 9, 1987. The veteran Neikro, who was 48 at the time, made just three starts in a Toronto uniform, however, going 0-2 with an 8.25 ERA before being released at the end of August.

Meanwhile, Geno Petralli — who began his major-league career with Toronto — had the unfortunate task of catching a knuckleballer, when he served as Charlie Hough’s personal catcher with the Texas Rangers. Apparently trying to catch a knuckleball is just as hard as attempting to hit one, as Petralli demonstrated when he tied a major-league record by committing four passed balls in one inning during a game in ’87.

Though the pitchers that throw them may not necessarily agree, perhaps Petralli said it best — at least from the viewpoint of both hitters and catchers — when, after that infamous ’87 contest, he simply quipped, “Knuckleballs ****”.

Wakefield indeed had the knuckleball ‘dancing’ on this night at the Rogers Centre … The Blue Jays manage just four hits in seven innings off the starter, scoring just one run in the process … The Sox score four, which is more than enough to drop Toronto to 8-6 on the ’07 campaign … Despite suffering his second loss of the season, Tomo Ohka has his strongest outing of the year, making very few mistakes — though three of them end up in the outfield bleachers for solo homers … On getaway day Thursday afternoon, Roy Halladay will take the mound against — assuming he doesn’t punch a dugout phone between now and game time — Julian Tavarez at 12:37 pm …

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