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'THE OUTLAWED SPITBALL WAS MY MONEY PITCH'
Dick Young
July 04, 1955
The retired Dodger hero admits he threw a "wet one" and tells how other players like Campanella, Reese and Hodges of his own team and Durocher, Maglie and Sewell of the enemy reacted to it
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July 04, 1955

'the Outlawed Spitball Was My Money Pitch'

The retired Dodger hero admits he threw a "wet one" and tells how other players like Campanella, Reese and Hodges of his own team and Durocher, Maglie and Sewell of the enemy reacted to it

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"I found out something else about Beech-Nut. It was the only kind of gum that would make the ink on a ball fade, and I think that might have been what caused it to be the best.

"I reckon when it came to complaining, Luke Sewell was about the complainingest manager, and Sid Gordon the hollerin'est hitter. But the way Sid hit me, I never could figure out why he bothered to complain. Boy, he wore me out.

"That Sewell, though, he never did stop yelling to the umpires. He'd always have his hitters make the umpire call for the ball. He'd do it three and four times a game. I usually rolled the ball to the umpire, whether I had anything on it or not. That used to make Sewell madder, and he'd call me every name he could think of—and he could think of some honeys.

"One day, while Sewell was bawling from the Cincinnati dugout, Babe Pinelli, who was umpiring at second, sneaked up behind me and asked for the ball. It so happened that I didn't have it loaded, so I just handed him the ball. He looked at it, and hollered to Sewell:

" 'Stop yelling, Luke. It's dry as a 'coon's backside.'

" Al Dark is another good hitter who complained about the spitter. He used to team up with Leo Durocher to give me hell. I told Al that it was a screwball, not a spitter. He was too smart to swallow that, though. He knew it was a spitter, but he couldn't prove it.

"There's one thing I always wondered about, where Durocher and Dark were concerned. They never hollered at me when I pitched against Sal Maglie. Any other pitcher working for the Giants, and they'd beef about spit-ters; never when Sal pitched against me. I still think about that."

Roe, who had suited up and tossed a few just for old times' sake, came back and sat down.

"I was lucky because I made a lot of friends, not only on my own club, but on the others," he said. "I guess I could have been a mean sonuvabuck and knocked down hitters with my spitter. It would have been a mean knockdown pitch. But I figured I was on dangerous ground, just throwing an illegal pitch, and if I ever hit anybody with it, they'd really start clamping down on me. So I let well enough alone. I'd just brush a guy back once in a while with my fast ball.

"But, hell, that's all any man should do. You ain't out there to kill a body. And as long as you don't throw at a hitter, I know it ain't dangerous, spitters or knucklers or anything you got. I know when they outlawed the pitch in the old days they let guys like Burleigh Grimes go on using it till the end of their careers, just as long as they came up with it. They couldn't have been too scared of the pitch.

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