Whither the Knuckle-Curve?
I read a very good article this morning by Dan Rozenson of Baseball Prospectus about the recent rise of the knuckle-curve grip which has resulted in just over 25% curveballs now thrown in MLB coming from knuckle-curve grips. Two different grips are used, one using the knuckle of the index finger and the other using the tip of the index finger (the “spike” grip) to stabilize the normal thumb-middle finger curveball grip. The knuckle curve grip results in a faster, tighter curveball which as the advantage of being harder to pick up out of the pitcher’s hand than a traditional curveball and also being easier to get into the strike zone.
According to wikipedia, however, the term knuckle curve has been used to describe a number of different pitches: (1) the variation of the curveball described above; (2) the knuckle-curve thrown by Bert Hooton which was a true hybrid of the curve and the knuckleball and very difficult to master; and (3) a knuckleball thrown hard like a fastball.
At any rate, I learned a lot from Rozenson’s article, and it’s well worth a read.