Clark Griffith “Convinced me of the Knuckle Ball’s Effectiveness”

7 Nov

As with most 19th Century players, Bill Lange had had several criticisms of players who came later, particularly the “batsmen of the present time,” when he spoke to a reporter from The Chicago Inter Ocean in 1909;  but unlike many of his contemporaries he thought some aspects of the game were better.  He said players were better behaved and were in better condition; he also believed pitching had improved:

“We old timers were a long time in believing there was anything in the so-called spit ball.  But results have forced us to admit its existence and its power to deceive.  Now they are talking about the knuckle or finger nail ball.  For a long time I supposed that was a joke.  But just this morning I had a letter from Clark Griffith, telling about a discussion he had with (Cap) Anson during the schedule meeting at Chicago over the knuckle ball.  Griff ought to know what he is talking about, and he convinced me of the knuckle ball’s effectiveness but his argument with Anse must have been funny.

“You know Anse has to be shown on every proposition.  Griffith told him that (Ed) Summers of the Detroit team had the best command of the knuckle ball and that it came up to the plate in such a peculiar manner that it fooled not only the batsmen, but the catchers too.

“’That’s all rot,’ Anson said to Griffith, but Griff came back with the willingness to bet Anson $100 that Anse couldn’t catch three out of five knuckle balls as thrown by Summers.  Anson jumped at the chance and took the wager, and it will be decided sometime this year, if Summers, Anson and Griffith happen to be in the same city at the same time.

“I guess Griff will win the money, for he told me in his letter that he couldn’t catch half the balls Summers had thrown to him in practice.  I can hardly believe any pitcher has such a funny delivery as that.  Of course, if the knuckle ball worked all the time, there wouldn’t be any hitting at all.”

Al Summers has his arm worked on by Tiger trainer Harry Tuthill, first baseman Del Gainer looks on.

Al Summers has his arm worked on by Tiger trainer Harry Tuthill, first baseman Del Gainer looks on.

There’s no record that the wager was ever decided.

Clark Griffith

Clark Griffith

Advertisements

11 Responses to “Clark Griffith “Convinced me of the Knuckle Ball’s Effectiveness””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “I Consider him a Weak, Foolish Talker” | Baseball History Daily - November 13, 2013

    […] following month Clark Griffith, who was in the South with the New York Highlanders, told The Atlanta Constitution that Cantillon […]

  2. Hence his Careless, Indifferent air when he goes to the Plate to Bat.” | Baseball History Daily - November 18, 2013

    […] 1911 Reds manager Clark Griffith told The Cincinnati Times-Star that pitchers no longer hit like they did when he […]

  3. “Clark Griffith nearly Ended the Life of William Phyle” | Baseball History Daily - November 19, 2013

    […] days later he went duck hunting with teammates Clark Griffith, Bill Lange, Jack Taylor and Jimmy Callahan at A.G. Spalding’s New Mexico ranch.  The Inter […]

  4. “Sunday was not a ‘real’ Ball Player” | Baseball History Daily - January 15, 2014

    […] ‘made’ ball player I ever heard of in the history of baseball.  Not a man on our team except (Cap) Anson had any confidence in Sunday when he joined the club (in 1883), nor for a long time afterward, for […]

  5. Lost Pictures–Walter Johnson Steamrolls the American League | Baseball History Daily - June 20, 2014

    […] Eddie Ainsmith was traded to Detroit via Boston, Clark Griffith shattered on of the crack batteries…it was Johnson and (Charles “Gabby”) Street. […]

  6. Big Six versus The Hoosier Thunderbolt | Baseball History Daily - August 6, 2014

    […] White Sox, and one of the best players who ever wore ‘New York’ across his shirt front, met Clark Griffith, manager of the Yankees (Crane was one of the earliest to call the then “Highlanders” the […]

  7. “First thing I know they had the Cushions Populous” | Baseball History Daily - August 15, 2014

    […] two decades after he claimed it happened, Clark Griffith told a reporter from The Sporting News a story about getting the final out, and humiliating a […]

  8. “The Annual Spring Typhoon has Blown up Again” | Baseball History Daily - November 10, 2014

    […] was a time when Boston’s payroll was close to $70,000 and (Clark) Griffith’s was only a notch below—but this golden era for the ballplayer has […]

  9. “Dummies Don’t Make Good” | Baseball History Daily - December 15, 2014

    […] Clark Griffith, while managing the New York Highlanders, provided The Washington Post with his insights on pitching—as well as sleeping and eating.  Griffith, “essentially a great a thinker,” shared “numerous cogent truths” with the paper: […]

  10. Griff’s Invention | Baseball History Daily - August 5, 2015

    […] manager, Clark Griffith would compare him to Ty Cobb in an interview with Harry Salsinger of The Detroit […]

  11. Lost Advertisements–Larry McLean for Sweet Caporal | Baseball History Daily - September 25, 2015

    […] deserted the Reds during an East Coast trip and was “suspended indefinitely” by Manager Clark Griffith, who told The Cincinnati […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s