July 28, 2021

This Day in Yankees History: the first use of the knuckleball mitt (Pinstripe Alley)

With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to revive the program in a slightly different format. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!

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This Day in Yankees History (May 27)

60 Years Ago

Clint Courtney of the Orioles became the first catcher to use an oversize mitt designed for working with a knuckleballer. The glove, which had a 45-inch circumference and was created by manager Paul Richards, helped Courtney effectively handle Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckleball. Wilhelm prevailed in a complete game, 3-2 victory over the Yankees in the Bronx, and the Baltimore backstop didn’t concede a single wild pitch or passed ball.

The Orioles’ defensive innovation would have an impact on the Yankees’ staff in the future. Jim Bouton of Ball Four fame became a full-time knuckleballer for the team when he transitioned to the bullpen in 1967. The switch seemed to have an effect. In 44.1 innings in relief, Bouton posted 6.3 strikeouts per nine innings — a career high to…

Read “This Day in Yankees History: the first use of the knuckleball mitt” at Pinstripe Alley