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THE "DRY SPITBALL"
Ron Fimrite
May 15, 1972
The grip Hooton uses is the standard one for knuckleballers—with the nails of the forefingers invariably flat against the seam—but his release is different. Instead of "pushing" the ball toward the plate he snaps it out with near-fastball speed, applying sharp downspin as he does so. While the knuckleball, which is much slower, may veer in any direction, the knuckle curve always breaks downward, like a spitball. Since Hooton also has a good fastball and throws every pitch with an over-the-top delivery, the knuckle curve is extremely deceptive.
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May 15, 1972

The "dry Spitball"

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The grip Hooton uses is the standard one for knuckleballers—with the nails of the forefingers invariably flat against the seam—but his release is different. Instead of "pushing" the ball toward the plate he snaps it out with near-fastball speed, applying sharp downspin as he does so. While the knuckleball, which is much slower, may veer in any direction, the knuckle curve always breaks downward, like a spitball. Since Hooton also has a good fastball and throws every pitch with an over-the-top delivery, the knuckle curve is extremely deceptive.

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