What Is A Spitball In Baseball

Spitball – Wikipedia

Look upspitballin Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

In illegalbaseball, an aspitball is a pitch in which the ball has been changed by the application of a foreign material such as saliva or petroleum jelly to the ball. Using this approach, you may change the wind resistance and weight on one side of the ball, causing it to move in an unusual way. A pitch may also “slip” out of the pitcher’s fingertips if the ball does not have the customary spin that is associated with a pitch. In this way, a spitball may be regarded of as a fastball that also has knuckleball characteristics.

A spitball is distinct from an emery ball, which is distinguished by the fact that the surface of the ball has been sliced or abraded.

Doctoring is a phrase used to describe any type of manipulation of the ball.


The chewing of slippery elmbark is necessary in order to create the additional saliva required for spitting a spitball. It has been widely assumed that a number of persons, including Elmer Stricklett and Frank Corridon, were responsible for the development of the spitball. There are several tales of different players experimenting with various variations of the spitball in various leagues during the later half of the nineteenth century, and it is doubtful that any one individual was responsible for “inventing” the spitball.

  1. In the years 1906 to 1912, Walsh dominated the American League, mostly due to the power of his spitball.
  2. The huge surge in popularity of “freak deliveries” during the 1910s resulted in a great deal of debate about the elimination of the spitball and other comparable pitches throughout the decade.
  3. Aside from that, there were other severe concerns with the spitball, including those that were dangerous to the player.
  4. Ray Chapmanwas murdered in August 1920 when he was hit in the temple by a spitball fired by pitcher Carl Mays during a game that was played in bad lighting.


During the first two seasons of Major League Baseball (MLB), the spitball was outlawed. During the winter of 1919–1920, management opted to restrict the use of the spitball to certain areas. Each side was given the option of designating up to two pitchers who would be permitted to hurl spitballs throughout the competition. Using the spitball was outlawed after the 1920 season, with the exception of a group of 17 current spitballers who were grandfathered in and permitted to throw the pitch lawfully until they retired.

In order of appearance, the following players were exempted: Ray Fisher (who played through 1920), Doc Ayers (1921), Ray Caldwell (1921), Phil Douglas (1922), Dana Fillingim (1925), Marv Goodwin (1925), Dutch Leonard (1925), Allen Russell (1925), Allen Sothoron (1926), Dick Rudolph (1927), Stan Coveleski (1928), Urban Shocker (1928), Bill Doak (1929), Clarence Mitchell (1932), Red Faber (1933), Jack In March 1955, Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick campaigned for the restoration of the spitball, telling a reporter, “The spitball should be brought back.” “If I had my way, I’d make it legal to spit in public.

It was a fantastic pitch, and it was also one of the simplest to throw. There was nothing inherently unsafe about the situation.” Despite the Commissioner’s excitement, the pitch was found to be in violation of the law.


In Major League Baseball, the spitball is now prohibited by rule. In NCAA Baseball, this is considered a pitching violation. However, it is still thrown sometimes in contravention of the regulations. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager, Leo Durocher, fined Bobo Newsom in 1942 for throwing a spitball and “lying to me” about it. An anti-lubricant is typically kept tucked beneath the pitcher’s knee or underneath the peak of his helmet. Others will place the ball in their mitt and cough or taste it before throwing it away.

  • Preacher Roe, who played baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, was noted for his ability to control the spitball and toss it without getting caught.
  • His memoir, “The Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch,” was released a year after he had resigned from the military.
  • In the case of Perry, he would apply Vaselineon his zipper because umpires seldom inspect a player’s lower groin area.
  • Drysdale would apply oil to the back of his hair, which he would then put on the ball to make it sink more quickly.

Legal spits

The term “spitter” is frequently used to describe a pitch that moves like a spitball but does not include saliva, such as the forkball or the split-finger fastball, among other things. It is also occasionally used as slang for theknuckleball, which is not uncommon. There is also the obscure term “God-given spitter,” which refers to a situation in which the ball is naturally dampened by moist air or light rainfall, allowing pitchers to throw pitches with sharper breaks, similar to a spitball, because the ball is naturally dampened.

Comparison to cricket

It is akin to the processes used to prepare a spitball to the ones that are still employed to condition a cricket ball. As was the situation in baseball prior to the 1920s, a single cricket ball is often used for a lengthy amount of time (about 500 deliveries in international cricket), with the newer ball swinging naturally due to its condition, and the older ball losing its swing as it becomes more utilized. The fielding team gradually seeks to make one side of the ball more glossy than the other in order to produce phenomena such as reverse swing, which is the aerodynamic polar opposite of conventional swing, and other variations.

See also

  • Tampering with the ball in cricket
  • The live-ball period and the dead-ball era


  1. “Doctoring the Baseball,” as the saying goes. Major League Baseball is a professional baseball league in the United States. James, Bill
  2. Neyer, Rob (2020-02-17)
  3. Retrieved from (2008-06-16). Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches
  4. Cobb, Ty
  5. Stump, Al (1961). Daniel Okrent’s My Life in Baseball: The True Record (ISBN 0803263597)
  6. ISBN 0803263597 (1989-04-20). Anecdotes about baseball, ISBN 9780195043969
  7. Faber, Charles F.
  8. Faber, Richard B.
  9. Faber, Charles F. (2006). Spitballers – The Wet One’s Last Legal Hurlers, or Spitballers for short. Published by McFarland & Company in Jefferson, North Carolina. ISBN0-7864-2347-1, page v “Frick Favors the Return of “the Old Spitter””, which was published on August 26, 2018. The Milwaukee Journal, March 8, 1953, p. 2
  10. Baseball Rules and Interpretations for the years 2021 and 2022. NCAA Publications for the year 2020 “9-2-e – Pitcher applies foreign material”
  11. “Goldstein, Richard”
  12. “9-2-e – Pitcher applies foreign substance” (November 10, 2008). “Preacher Roe, a Brooklyn Dodgers legend known for his spitball, has died at the age of 92.” The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. AbCalcaterra, Craig -Bill White’s assessment of Don Drysdale: “he flung spitballs.” Retrieved on November 10, 2008. NBC Sports, March 28, 2011
  13. Goldstein, Richard -Lew Burdette, Masterful Pitcher, Dies at the Age of 80, NBC Sports, March 28, 2011. According to the New York Times, “Was Mike Fiers cheating during his no-hitter?” on February 7, 2007. ESPN, on August 24, 2015, reported that Obtainable on November 10, 2008

What is a Spitball Pitch – Why it is Illegal in Baseball?

PEDs. Putting a cork in your baseball bat. The deceptive pitch. Among all the several varieties of baseball trickery, the spitball is perhaps the most well-known and widely used. The spitball principle is straightforward: by incorporating a foreign substance (such as dirt, vaseline/petroleum jelly, and, of course, saliva) inside the ball, the wind resistance and weight balance are altered. As a result, the “spitter” has the ability to throw opposing hitters for a loop. It does not react in the same way as conventional pitches, including theknuckleball and screwball pitches.

Some individuals, including a large number of umpires, feel it is a disgrace to the baseball sport.

But what exactly is this contentious pitch, how does it function, and why does it have such a tainted image are all questions worth asking.

Why is the Spitball Illegal in Baseball?

In the beginning, the technique of throwing a baseball pitch was rather different. The effectiveness of a pitcher was sometimes determined by the accuracy of his or her fingers rather than the strength of their arms. The art of pitching was centered on deceit or the use of gimmicks rather than on sheer force of personality. It is possible to fool batters by throwing a vaseline ball or a ball containing a vaseline-like substance. Spitballers in Major League Baseball were well aware that, unlike fastballs, which are typically predictable pitches, spitters could be unpredictable, and they practiced this skill.

  1. However, over time, the simple act of “doctoring” the baseball in any manner came to be associated with cheating and became synonymous with it.
  2. In the event that they were battling against alien chemicals, how might big league hitters smash home runs?
  3. A contentious occurrence occurred in 1920 when Ray Chapman was struck by a spitball thrown by Carl Mays, resulting in Chapman’s early death.
  4. Even at the time of its creation, this spitball may have contributed to the spitball’s negative image.

How Do You Throw a Spitball in Baseball?

Bob Shaw, the guy who taught Gaylord Perry how to throw a spitball, promoted a variety of strategies for getting past the regulations, including:

  • Apply enough of vaseline on your helmet or uniform, and then wipe your fingers with it before “loading” the baseball with your bat. Shaw recommended putting a form of water-soluble jelly at three distinct areas on the body, so that the substance would appear to be sweating. Untrained observers could think a pitcher is simply wiping their brows or wiping their sweat off their brows
  • If a batter demands for the ball, a pitcher might wipe the baseball on their slacks before tossing it over for examination
  • During one variation of the game, the ball is tossed in a typical manner. When the ball was thrown off-balance, the foreign substance (typically spit or vaseline) would take over, “wobbling” the ball as it was tossed off-balance. Consequently, some people felt that the spitball was a pretty safe throw that was particularly easy on pitchers. It would be sufficient for the pitcher to just grease his fingertips in another variation of the spitball and keep them away from the seam. It was their habit to squeeze the ball as it was released from their grasp, causing it to move in unanticipated ways as it traveled onward.

Gaylord Perry, a pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees, and numerous other clubs over the course of a multi-decade career, was a master at finding loopholes in the system.

If investigators were looking for proof of the jelly he was using in his hair, it’s possible that they’d discover it in the V of his neck instead. The ball would have been out of his hands by that point, and it would be difficult to uncover any evidence that a spitball had ever occurred.

Who Was One of the First Pitchers to Throw the Spitball?

Although the practice of placing foreign chemicals on balls has been around since the nineteenth century, the restrictions were likely to be more stringent back then. As far back as the 1890s, there were regulations in place to ensure that baseballs were free of alien influences such as jelly. Elmer Stricklett, a pitcher with the Chicago White Sox and the Brooklyn Superbas, is recognized as being the first pitcher to throw spitters in baseball history. Rather than being credited with inventing the concept, Stricklett was credited with bringing it to the attention of the major leagues for the first time.

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Some pitchers have even turned the spitball into an art form, relying on spitters to help them achieve their desired look.

  • Dutch Leonard, Jack Chesbro, Red Faber, Ed Walsh, Stan Coveleski, Jack Quinn, and Bill Doak are among the players to watch.

How Effective was the Pitch?

There’s no way of knowing what proportion of throws were spitballs back in the day. However, the following statistics demonstrate exactly how popular spitballs had become:

  • For as long as the spitball was considered semi-legal, up to 17 pitchers would rely on the pitch, which would normally endure until approximately 1934. Within a few months, any pitcher found “defacing” the ball in any way would be subject to an automatic 10-game ban.

By 1955, the spitball had been outlawed for several years, but still had its adherents. Ford Frick, the commissioner of Major League Baseball in the 1950s, stated that he would have allowed spitters if he had his way, claiming that they were a safe and simple throw to make.

Who Threw the Last Legal Spitball?

In the end, the spitball was declared completely prohibited. Burleigh Grimes of the Pittsburgh Pirates was the last pitcher in the majors to utilize the spitball officially, doing it all the way back in the 1930s and 1940s. However, this hasn’t stopped some pitchers from attempting to make advantage of it anyhow. Gaylord Perry, as previously indicated, developed an art form out of unlawfully employing the spitball without being apprehended. When the spitter was legal, no spitball pitcher wanted to give away whatever pitch they were about to throw, hence this custom was out of date, according to Gaylord Perry.

After being legal, semilegal, and then openly prohibited, marijuana has remained illegal to this day.

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Does Anyone Throw a Spitball Today?

  • Two Major League Baseball pitchers were ejected from two different games early in the 2015 season for possessing a “foreign substance” on their bodies, which is a violation of the sport’s rules. In both instances, the substance was almost certainly rosin, or rosin mixed with something else, and the concoction was almost certainly used to assist the pitcher in getting a better grip on the ball. As was the case with former baseball pitchers, the thrown-out throwers maintained that they were not doing anything wrong (even when smears of odd-colored substances were found on their arms or neck). For the most part, today’s pitchers aren’t accused of throwing the most famous and infamous of illegal pitches: the spitball, as was the case with pitchers in the olden days. What happened to the good ol’ spitter, you might wonder. Here’s a quick test for all of you baseball trivia enthusiasts: In how many instances was San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry thrown out of the game for throwing a spitball? b.)Who is getting ejected for throwing a spitter these days? You’ll find the solution to the first question around the end of this essay. However, the answer to “b” is “virtually no one.” In fact, it’s almost as if no one’s even trying it anymore. The reasons for the spitball’s disappearance are many:
  • sIt’s not an easy pitch to learn or to throw
  • sIt’s not easy to get away with (with cameras everywhere, zoom lenses, replays)
  • sThere aren’t many experienced former MLB spitballers around to teach the younger guys
  • Younger pitchers probably aren’t keen to learn it anyhow
  • If anything, pitchers are doing quite the opposite of getting the ball slippery: They’re attempting to make it sticky. One Minnesota Twins pitcher was quoted as saying, “To be honest with you, I don’t know how many guys in my generation have any idea how to throw a spitball.” Another young pitcher who tried throwing a Vaseline ball for fun (not in a game) said it “felt ridiculous.” He thinks of throwing a spitball as a “old-school thing.” What is a spitball? By definition, “A spitball is an illegal baseball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance.” There are other ways to throw a “wet/slippery” ball without human saliva:
  • sBy using Vaseline (petroleum jelly), supposedly a favorite substance of Gaylord Perry’s
  • sBy combining sunscreen and water and slathering it somewhere on your body or uniform
  • sOr, according to old accounts, by having an infielder or two help the pitcher out by spitting on the ball before tossing it back to the mound. That’s teamwork for you
  • s Still, even with a little help from his friends, the pitcher has to learn how to properly throw a spitball… and not all pitchers can or want to. (Think of the knuckleball.) The “spit” makes the ball slip off the pitcher’s fingers without the usual spin. If you’ve ever shot a black watermelon seed between your fingers, you get the idea. As with a knuckleball (which is legal), no one knows what a spitball is going to do. Batters, however, knew when they were thrown one…and not only by the way it moved. In his autobiography, the great Ted Williams, who played from 1939 to 1960, claimed that one time at the plate, some saliva jumped off a spitball and hit him in the eye. Hall of Shame. One of the most famous spitballers was Preacher Roe, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s. Roe was famous for two things: his ability to throw a spitball with some accuracy and his ability do it without getting caught. In an interview after he retired, he fessed up: “I threw spitballs the whole time I was with the Dodgers. Seven years in all.” Preacher Roe went 93–37 as a Dodger, with a 3.26 ERA. Probably the most famous “modern day” spitballer (the one everyone knows about) is Gaylord Perry. Perry also denied throwing the spitter as a player. but he titled his autobiography Me and the Spitter. Perry confessed that he’d even put Vaseline on his pants zipper because umpires would never check there. But perhaps Perry’s real talent wasn’t just throwing a good spitter—it was throwing hitters off-balance, as they wondered if the pitch would be coming their way. “I know it! I just can’t prove it.” Just a few seasons ago, former pitcher/Toronto Blue Jays color commentator Jack Morris accused Boston pitcher Clay Buchholz of throwing a spitter against the Blue Jays. Buchholz had pitched a gem and won, holding the Jays to two hits. “He’s throwing a spitter,” Morris ranted after the game, adding that Buchholz’s forearm was smeared with a substance that he was rubbing onto the ball. “It was all over his forearm, all over the lower part of his T-shirt. It’s all in his hair.” Yet despite all the ranting, Morris had to admit he didn’t have real evidence. “I can’t prove anything,” he said, “but I’ll be looking for it.” Buchholz responded by saying it was the first time he’d been accused of throwing a spitball. (And that doesn’t sound too much like a denial.) He explained that he’d simply blotted some rosin on his arm (a dry powder), and that he’d touch his arm to pick up some rosin, dry off his fingers and get a better grip on the ball. Was Buchholz telling the truth? Who knows! Whether he was guilty or not, no active spitball pitcher ever admitted to throwing one, and very few were EVER caught in the act. At least that part of the game hasn’t changed. So here’s the answer to the earlier trivia question: Gaylord Perry was ejected only once for throwing an illegal pitch—only once over 21 Major League seasons. And Gaylord Perry is in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Sources:Baseball, by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns. ESPN.com article by Gordon Eddes. The Associated Press

Explaining the notorious and mysterious spitball

This spring, Brewers relief pitcher Will Smith became a member of an exclusive club: pitchers who were removed from the game for using a foreign substance on the mound. He was the fourth pitcher to be punished for the infraction in the last ten years, and he was joined later in the week by Brian Matusz of the Baltimore Orioles. It is those infrequent ejections that are drawing attention to a little-enforced regulation intended to avoid “what is referred to as the shine ball,” as stated in Section 8.02(6) of the baseball rule book, “what is referred to as the spit ball,” “mud ball,” or “emery ball.” Pitchers who master the spitball, which is both infamous and mysterious in the history of baseball, have a distinct edge over their opponents on the mound.

With every scuff, cut, or glob of Vaseline, with every topspin curveball and swaying knuckleball, any pitcher may modify the physical forces that determine the ball’s fate in order to deceive the hitter and get him out of the game.

Spin is the most important factor in determining whether a pitcher wins or loses.

Spins and scuffs

When the ball is hit, “one way to think about it is that the ball is forcing the air downward,” said Alan Nathan, an authority on the physics of baseball from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign who is now retired as a particle physicist. The backspinning baseball generates lift as it pulls the air downward, just like an airplane wing gains lift when air flows over it. A ball that has backspin will curve in the direction it spins when viewed from home plate; a ball with topspin will sink; a baseball with sidespin will be pushed laterally when viewed from the home plate.

  1. Anything that alters the way a ball spins, especially in an unexpected fashion, might aid the pitcher in keeping a tight grip on his or her opponent.
  2. Sometimes all it takes to throw a different pitch is a change of pace.
  3. “I could make it do different things,” Fingers said of his ability to manipulate the ball.
  4. “You place it on top and maybe a little sidearm, and the ball will sink,” says the pitcher.
  5. “However, in most baseball games today, balls can barely last one pitch — and seldom an entire inning — before being thrown out.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep a scuffed or a cut ball in the game,” Fingers remarked. Pitchers are forced to rely on their own abilities on the mound if they do not have these inherent advantages.

The unpredictable knuckleball

Unlike a fastballer who seeks as much backspin as possible and a curveballer who seeks topspin to sink his throw, there is one tough — but entirely legal — pitch that employs the inverse strategy. Batters, catchers, and pitchers are all more unpredictable when facing the unusual knuckleball, which has little to no spin. It is the seams of a knuckleball that produce movement, as opposed to the ball itself, which is hardly spinning if it does at all. “When air travels across the seams, it causes the flow of air to be disrupted.” In contrast to the predicted Magnus effect, rough seams and a lack of spin cause the ball to act erratically, leaping first to the right and then to the left at the last possible second.

  1. R.A.
  2. Eddie Gamboa of the Baltimore Orioles is listed on the team’s 40-man roster, however he is not in the starting lineup.
  3. As he said in the Brewers clubhouse, “it’s quite difficult to relocate it.” The knuckleball is thrown at a slower pace than other pitches since it is based on unpredictability rather than speed.
  4. However, if a pitcher has not mastered the pitch, he or she will be at a disadvantage.
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‘Foreign substance’

When the weather makes the baseball slippery, most pitchers who violate rule 8.02 utilize a sticky material such as rosin or pine tar to keep the ball from slipping between their fingers. Many managers, pitchers, and even batters would prefer that Major League Baseball amend the regulations to reflect the reality on the field, which is that many, if not most, pitchers will push their luck in order to have a stronger grip on the baseball. 8.02, on the other hand, was put in place to prevent an entirely other problem: the spitball.

  • “It’s the equivalent of chucking a spitball.” Pitchers who try the illegal pitch will generally apply a little bit of Vaseline or oil on their fingertips before throwing the ball.
  • A fastball with less backspin — and hence less lift — will drop more quickly than the hitter anticipates, prompting him to swing excessively high in response.
  • Gaylord Perry is the most well-known, having even authored an autobiography titled “Me and the Spitter” while still competing as a pitcher in the Major Leagues.
  • A Milwaukee native, Bruce Froemming, the Major League Baseball’s longest-serving umpire and a native of Milwaukee, recalls having to keep Perry in control when he called balls and strikes at the Giants’ stadium in San Francisco.
  • “It’s freezing, I mean it’s really cold with the wind off that bay.” “In addition, his hair is dripping wet.
  • ‘Hey, Gaylord, it’s a nice night, isn’t it?’ I reply.” According to Froemming, Gaylord was accused of putting “something” on balls, whether it was water or other substances.

Perry was only ever dismissed from a game for doctoring the ball once, in 1982, a year before he announced his retirement. Pitchers are now subjected to continual high-resolution observation from many angles, making the spitball a far more difficult maneuver these days.

Today in 1920, the spitball was banned

The spitball was officially prohibited by Major League Baseball 99 years ago today. Only 17 pitchers who relied on the pitch for their livelihood were permitted to utilize it for the balance of their careers until they were forced out of the profession. Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Jack Quinn, Urban Shocker, Stan Coveleskie, Bill Doak, Ray Caldwell, Clarence Mitchell, Dutch Leonard, Ray Fisher, Dick Rudolph, Allen Sothoron, Phil Douglas, Allan Russell, Doc Ayers, Dana Fillingim, and Marvin Goodwin were among the seventeen pitchers who were permitted to use the spitter.

  • Furthermore, on this day in 1920, everything that might be deemed “doctoring” a baseball was outlawed.
  • It was done by a large number of pitchers.
  • The rationale for the prohibition was provided by the business’s proprietors.
  • Burleigh Grimes was the final pitcher to legally utilize the spitter, and he was a pitcher who depended extensively on the pitch.
  • Louis Cardinals, who helped the team win the World Series in 1931.
  • The spitball was invented in the late nineteenth century when pitchers found that spit (or any number of other moist foreign substances) might modify the trajectory of a baseball as it approached the plate.
  • Pitchers dominated baseball in the early twentieth century, and the spitball became increasingly popular.
  • Despite the ban on the spitball, the ball continued to be used in the decades that followed 1920 despite the prohibition.
  • Perry was dismissed from the MLB for throwing a spitball, despite the fact that it was just his 21st season.
  • However, at the level at which I competed, the umpires didn’t even bother to look at me.

How to Throw a Spitball

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation A spitball is a type of trick pitch that was outlawed after the 1920 professional baseball season, when it was first used.

When thrown correctly by a pitcher, a spitball moves in unforeseen ways due to the fact that the surface of the baseball has been wetted slightly, which affects the trajectory and spin of the baseball. See Step 1 for further information on how to throw this timeless classic.

  1. 1 Dab a tiny bit of saliva or vaseline onto the baseball and rub it in evenly. Creating resistance and a variation in the uniform weight of the ball in order to make its motion more unpredictable and harder to strike is the purpose of this experiment. Because the purpose is unpredictability, like with a knuckleball, there is no “correct location” to put it.
  • Scratching the ball with a file or sandpaper, on the other hand, can be an equally efficient method of altering the weight and trajectory of the ball. It’s still against the law, but it’s a possibility
  • Because the friction between your fingers and the ball is what gives the ball its spin, you can also maintain the goop on your finger while you’re chucking the ball. If you use anything slippery, such as spit, you can lessen the friction of the pitch and achieve a similar result. It is not prohibited to lick your fingers before throwing a pitch
  • Nonetheless, it is discouraged.
  • 2 Make a fastball throw. There is no special method for throwing a spitball that distinguishes it from throwing a standard fastball. Using the same grip and technique as a conventional fastball, throw it as if it were a knuckleball, yet the motion should be comparable to that of a curveball.
  • A fastball may be more difficult to control if you have even a small amount of moisture on your fingertips when you pitch, since it may slide out of your hand rather than rolling out as with a typical fastball. It may take some time for you to become accustomed to the sensation.
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  • s3 Instead, use a forkball to make a point. A forkball or a split-finger fastball are both legal pitches that function in a similar manner, seeming at first to be typical fastballs but then behaving in an unpredictable manner, frequently slowing and sinking at the last minute when thrown correctly and looking more like curveballs. The split-finger fastball is a more contemporary and comfortable variation of the same pitch that is similar to the forkball, but with the ball seated deeper between the forks of the fingers.
  • Because of the wide variety of off-speed pitches available in the throwing arsenal, it is suggested that you constantly use a different pitch rather than depending on an illegal spitball to strike out your opposition. It’s a wonderful thing to learn just for the sake of learning something new, but you can’t and shouldn’t utilize it in a game.
  1. 4Otherwise, get your feet wet with the ball. The ball, which is sometimes referred to as a “spitball from God,” will behave slightly differently in moist circumstances, providing sharper breaking trajectories for the pitcher to throw. Pitching in high humidity places, as well as pitches in moderate rain, will have a similar impact to that of pitching in high humidity areas. If it’s raining, you’ll be hurling spitballs whether you like it or not, so get used to it. Advertisement
  1. 4Otherwise, get your feet wet with anything else. A “spitball from God,” as it is sometimes referred to, would behave differently in moist circumstances, providing sharper breaking trajectories for the pitcher to use. Pitching in high-humidity settings, as well as pitches in light rain, will have a comparable impact as pitching in a dry environment. In rainy weather, whether you like it or not, you’re going to be hurling spitballs. Advertisement

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  • Play around with the spitball and see what happens. It will take some trial and error to figure out which combination of how and where to change the baseball, in conjunction with hiding your illicit material before throwing the pitch, yields the most ideal outcomes.

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  • In an organized baseball game, throwing a spitball is strictly prohibited. Using a spitball during a game might result in your dismissal from the game or your suspension from the league, depending on the circumstances. Scratching or slashing the baseball causes it to move in an unusual manner as well. Spitballs are defined as balls that have been intentionally sliced or scratched, and they are prohibited in organized baseball organizations.


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Did this article help you?

It is well known that baseball pitchers use their saliva to doctor the ball; this is reflected in the name “spitball.” Player’s have been looking for legal and illegal ways to get an advantage over their opponents from the beginning of the sport’s history. For pitchers, doctoring the baseball with saliva or other slippery substances makes it more difficult to hit the pitch when it is thrown. However, while spitballs were once frequent in baseball’s early years, they have since been forbidden – though some pitchers continue to gamble by doctoring the ball.

Doctoring the Ball

Spit isn’t the only technique to manipulate a ball’s trajectory in order to change its direction. Saliva can be replaced by other substances such as mucus or petroleum jelly under certain circumstances. When a pitcher throws a fastball, for example, the ball spins when the pitcher delivers it due to the rotation of his fingers. While applying saliva or another material to his fingers or directly onto the ball, it is possible for his fingers and thumb to glide easily away from the ball’s surface as he releases it, resulting in little to no spin.

Spitball Purpose

Batters have split seconds to recognize a pitch and then another split second to determine whether or not to swing at it. Baseball is a game of split seconds, and batters must make split second decisions. A batter’s decision to swing is influenced in part by the trajectory of the ball when it is delivered to him. For example, if he forecasts that the ball will pass the strike zone before it reaches the plate, he will frequently swing at the ball. Spiked balls are difficult to predict, which makes it more difficult for batters to strike them with accuracy.

Ray Chapman Death

In August of 1920, while playing against the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman was struck in the head by a spitball and died as a result of the injury. Although the spitball had a role in the tragedy, it was also the dirty ball and the poorly lighted field that contributed to it. In the early years of the game, umpires did not routinely put new, clean balls into play, and stadiums lacked the bright lights that are now common in modern-day parks. Despite a grandfather provision that permitted certain players to continue to throw the pitch, Major League Baseball abolished it at the conclusion of that season.

Recent Use

Despite the fact that the spitball was officially banned in 1920, many pitchers continued to employ the pitch. Gaylord Perry, a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame whose career stretched from 1962 to 1983, was one of the game’s most effective spitballers, and he wrote about his experiences in his book, “Me and the Spitter.” Don Drysdale, Don Sutton, and Whitey Ford are among the other noteworthy Major League Baseball spitballers who have been inducted into the hall of fame.

The spitball was in the spotlight as recently as May 2013, when television cameras captured Miami Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia spitting on a baseball.

What is a Spitball? (with pictures)

Michael Pollick is an American film director and producer. Date: 30th of January, 2022 The way a ball spins during flight may be affected by spitting. Baseball games were predominantly pitched duel-style affairs in the early days of professional baseball, which meant that the emphasis was on defensive fielding and base running rather than crowd-pleasing home runs. During a pitch, many pitchers would utilize foreign substances to give themselves the best possible edge over the hitters. These substances included saliva, pine tar, phonograph needles, mud, and sandpaper, among others, to alter the way the baseball behaved during the pitch.

  • Spitballs are believed to have an effect on the way a ball exits the bat.
  • In spite of the fact that many officials strongly prohibited the practice, pitchers were given the freedom to apply chemicals ranging from tobacco juice to petroleum jelly to a baseball before to throwing.
  • The term “pitball” was given to the pitch because the majority of pitchers employed generous amounts of tobacco spittle or saliva in addition to other elements, and the pitch itself became known as such.
  • There are a variety of reasons why a pitcher could find throwing a spitball to be particularly enticing.
  • When thrown as a spitball, a deceptive pitch such as a curve ball or sinker will appear even more deceiving to the batter.
  • In terms of efficacy, only a permitted off-speed pitch known as a knuckle ball comes close to matching a spitball’s performance.
  • If the proper components, principally dirt and tobacco juice, were employed in the construction of a spitball, the ball would also become practically hard to see because of the obscuring effect of the dirt and tobacco juice.
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A darkly tinted spitball has even been suggested as a possible factor in the death of a batter, who was unable to notice the doctored ball being thrown because it was too dark to see.

Despite the fact that the spitball was declared banned in 1920, certain pitchers were nevertheless permitted to use it until they decided to retire from the game.

If the substances were hidden beneath the brims of their hats or in the zipper region of their pants, they were less likely to be inspected after being accused of throwing a spitball.

In the realm of professional sports, the term “spitball” has an entirely different meaning than in everyday life.

This type of spitball frequently settles in the hair of an unwary victim, or sticks to a wall or chalkboard, depending on the circumstances.

In addition to being a frequent writer, Michael likes conducting research to fulfill his insatiable curiosity about a wide range of obscure topics. Michael worked as an English instructor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ before he decided to pursue a career as a professional writer.

Michael Pollick is an American film director and producer. In addition to being a frequent writer, Michael likes conducting research to fulfill his insatiable curiosity about a wide range of obscure topics. Michael worked as an English instructor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ before he decided to pursue a career as a professional writer.

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In baseball, an aspitball is a ball that has been changed by the application of spit, petroleum jelly, or any other foreign substance on the ball. Due to the changed wind resistance and weight on one side of the ball, such a pitch poses an additional obstacle to the batter throughout its approach. As a result, the ball moves in an unorthodox manner during its approach. Alternative names for the spitball include the mud ball, the shine ball, and the emery ball, although technically, an emery ball is one in which the ball has been abraded in a manner similar to that in which the originalcut ball was physically sliced.


The origin of the spitball has been widely attributed to a variety of persons, including Elmer Stricklett and Frank Corridon, according to common belief. There are several tales of different players experimenting with various variations of the spitball in various leagues during the later half of the nineteenth century, and it is doubtful that any one individual was responsible for “inventing” the spitball. Ed Walsh, on the other hand, is unquestionably responsible for making it popular. In the years 1906-1912, Walsh dominated the American League largely because of the power of his spitball.

The huge surge in popularity of “freak deliveries” during the 1910s resulted in a great deal of debate about the elimination of the spitball and other comparable pitches throughout the decade.

Management decided to partially restrict spitballs during the winter of 1919-1920, allowing each club to nominate a maximum of two pitchers who would be authorized to legally hurl spitballs.

This exemption was granted to seventeen spitballers who were already registered.

The complete list includes: Doc Ayers (1921-1921), Ray Caldwell (1921-1921), Stan Coveleski (1928), Bill Doak (1929), Phil Douglas (1922), Red Faber (1933), Dana Fillingim (1925), Ray Fisher (1920), Marv Goodwin (1934), Dutch Leonard (1925), Clarence Mitchell (1932), Jack Quinn (1933), Allen Russell (1925), Dick Rudolph (1927), Urban Shocker (1928), and Allen Sothoron (1928).


Despite the fact that spitballs are now prohibited at all levels of professional and organized amateur baseball, they are nevertheless occasionally thrown in violation of the regulations. The Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager, Leo Durocher, fined Bobo Newsom in 1942 for throwing a spitball and “lying to me” about it. An anti-lubricant is typically kept tucked beneath the pitcher’s knee or underneath the peak of his helmet. Others will place the ball in their mitt and cough or taste it before throwing it away.

  1. In order to replicate the impact of the spitball, some pitchers have attached a piece ofsandpaperto the tip of one of their fingers and then scuffed a portion of the ball with that finger.
  2. Joe Niekro, one of the Minnesota Twins’ starting pitchers, was suspended for the 1987 season when he was spotted on the field with a nail file in his back pocket, according to the team’s official website.
  3. Preacher Roe, who played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, was one of the most well-known spitballers in baseball history.
  4. Gaylord Perry was another well-known user of the pitch, and he went so far as to title his autobiographyMe and the Spitter after it.
  5. In the words of one columnist, “Gaylord Perry’s 3.67 ERA was higher than he had anticipated.”

Legal spits

The term “spitter” is also used to describe a pitch that moves like a spitball but does not contain saliva, such as the forkball or the split-finger fastball, the latter of which is sometimes referred to as a “splitter” in a lighthearted backreference to the term “spitter.” It is also occasionally used as slang for theknuckleball, which is not uncommon.

See also

  1. Neyer and James’ Guide to Pitchers is a historical compendium of pitchers, pitchers’ histories and pitchers’ histories, as well as a compendium of pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004
  2. Bill James and Rob Neyer. ↑ Anecdotes about baseball. Daniel Okrent was born in 1989.

Baseball pitches are represented by a template.

MLB Spitball Pitchers

The regulations are rather straightforward. For any infraction of this regulation, including delivering what is known as the “shine ball,” “spit ball,” “mud ball,” and/or “emery ball,” the umpire is required to call the pitch a ball, admonish the pitcher, and state on the public address system why it was ruled a ball in violation of this rule. Major League Baseball placed into effect a regulation on February 9, 1920, that prohibited the usage of the spitball and other substance-abuse-related pitches in the league.

According to the Baseball Almanac, these pitchers and the teams for which they appeared in 1920 are listed below.

He topped the league in victories the next season with twenty-two and went on to pitch for fourteen more seasons, winning a total of two hundred seventy games in his career.

He would go on to genuinely dominate the mound, receive a well-deserved induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and later remark, “He was the best pitcher I’d ever seen.” “Pitchers will continue to throw spitters, regardless of the rules.

It’s a question of life and death.” When was the last time a LEGAL spitball was victorious? On September 10, 1934, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitcherBurleigh Grimeson made a bullpen appearance and helped the team defeat the New York Giants 9-7.


The term “spt′bôl′” refers to a piece of paper that has been chewed and formed into a lump in preparation for use as a projectile. 2.Baseball In an unlawful pitch, the ball is coated with a foreign substance such as saliva before being thrown, and this is called a “spitball.” Also known as a spitter. The Fifth Edition of the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language is now available. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company has copyright protection for the year 2016. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company is the publisher of this book.


To propose anything is to (sptbl)n1.in school slang, a little missile composed of chewed paper2.in baseball, a ball that has been wet with saliva before to pitchingvb(intr)to suggest something is to offer ideas Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 – HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014 – Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 – Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 – Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 – Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition

spit ball

The term “sptbl” refers to a little lump of chewed paper that can be used as a missile. 2.a baseball pitch that was made to curve by moistening the ball with spit or similar lubricant, which is today considered prohibited. Random House is a publishing house that publishes fiction and nonfiction. Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, published by K Dictionaries Ltd. in 2010. Random House, Inc. retains ownership of the copyright for the years 2005, 1997, and 1991. ThesaurusAntonymsConsequential Words SynonymsLegend:

Noun 1. spitball- a projectile made by chewing a piece of paper and shaping it into a sphereprojectile,missile- a weapon that is forcibly thrown or projected at a targets but is not self-propelled
2. spitball- an illegal pitch in which a foreign substance (spit or Vaseline) is applied to the ball by the pitcher before he throws itpitch,delivery- (baseball) the act of throwing a baseball by a pitcher to a batter

Based on the WordNet 3.0 clipart collection from Farlex, 2003-2012 Princeton University and Farlex Corporation.

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