"I didn't come up from the minors with it and I guess you would say I was a criminal with it, sort of. But it wasn't my only pitch. You don't have to believe this, but I was a wild fast-balling pitcher in my young days. Fact is, I could throw harder than most people thought when I was at my peak in Brooklyn. Folks used to make jokes about my 'hummer.' They'd say if it hit you in the nose it wouldn't blacken your eyes. I used to encourage them. It helped me fool batters with my fast ball. I didn't use it too often, but when I did, it wasn't bad. Not bad at all. Just ask Campy. I struck out quite a few guys with my 'hummer.'
"But my spitter was my 'money pitch.' I'd save it till I was in a jam.
"Well, who cares now? I figure I made some good money throwing my spitter for Brooklyn. That's three World Series cuts too, you know. I have a nice home, a cabin just across the Arkansas border, a small boat house and I bought a good grocery business. Not bad for a little ol' country boy. I'm for spitballs. I like 'em." )
The Preacher was 22 when he came to St. Louis in 1938. Years in which he employed spitball are in boldface.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]