From Steve Sailer
Baseball pitcher Jim Bouton has died at age 80.
He won 39 games for the Mantle-Maris Yankees in 1963-64, plus two World Series games, but burned out his arm.
In 1969 he attempted to come back as a soft-throwing knuckleballer. A knuckleball is thrown with, ideally, zero spin, which causes it to flutter in a random pattern on its way to the plate. Everything about a knuckleball is the opposite of normal good pitching, in which the ball is thrown with as much of a combination of velocity, spin, and accuracy as is possible.
A few pitchers have enjoyed endless careers well into their 40s throwing the knuckleball, such as the Niekro brothers who won a combined 537 games. But it’s so contrary to conventional pitching that usually only a few pitchers at a time are ever throwing it.
Bouton wasn’t particularly good as a knuckleballer, going 2-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 1969. Yet, to be a knuckleballer is to be a philosopher.