With all the attention paid to R.A. Dickey and his fantastic knuckleball this season, I couldn't help thinking back to when I was a kid and we all tried to throw knucklers. Some of us managed to throw pitches with no spin (my trick was throwing sidearm), but none of us could get it to move and dance. I tried to throw one in a game once, dipping low into a sidearm motion, and the pitch, high and slow, got absolutely crushed at the plate. "What the hell are you doing?" my coach yelled from the bench, and that was the end of the knuckleball experiment.
But there was another pitch, too, even more bizarre, called the forkball. To throw the fork, we held it between our index and middle fingers, splitting them wide so the ball was jammed in between. As you can imagine, this pitch did nothing. It was impossible to control or throw for any accuracy, and it came out slow and high. There were at least a few times, playing catch, when it was wedged so tightly that it actually stayed between my fingers when I meant to release it. I don't think any of us had a clue what a forkball was supposed to do, or why it was invented.
I thought of the forkball recently, and was dismayed to find on Fangraphs that nobody has thrown even one this year. Not one? There's no R.A. Dickey of the forkball? There had to be a savior, right? The knuckle-curve has A.J. Burnett. Even the eephus pitch is preserved, by Randy Wolf. At first glance, I found only two pitches that haven't been thrown in the majors this season: the forkball and the screwball.