By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on April 11, 2014
Cheating in baseball has been around for a very long time. Pitchers will do whatever it takes to gain the upper edge on the mound. The problem in the present game is that pitchers aren’t as careful as they used to be when it comes to hiding foreign substances. After New York Yankees’ Michael Pineda was clearly seen using pine tar Thursday night, I came up with the five most famous pitchers who doctored the ball and cheated on the mound.
Preacher Roe had a pitch called the “Beech-Nut Curve”, which was named after the Beech-Nut gum he chewed to give him more drop in his curveball. Roe used to explain that Beech-Nut was by far the best brand of gum for use in the delivery of a spitball. Opponents didn’t know exactly how Roe doctored the baseball, which he used to his advantage. He would psyche batters out by touching the brim of his hat, even though he wasn’t adding a substance.
Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford admitted that he used his wedding band to scuff the ball. He also had catcher Elston Howard cut the baseball with a buckle on his shin guard. If that wasn’t bad enough, Ford concocted a special substance that was made up of resin, baby oil and turpentine to add all sorts of spin on the ball. Mud was also a common prop, which he confessed to using in the 1963 World Series.
In 1988, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jay Howell was suspended for two games in the postseason after it was revealed that he had pine tar inside his glove. Even though Howell wasn’t known as a consistent cheater, getting busted in the playoffs is reason enough for him to make this list.
Joe Niekro is one of the more famous pitchers when it comes to doctoring the baseball. In a game in 1987, umpires visited the mound and told Niekro to hand over his glove. After the inspection of the glove, they turned their attention to his pockets, which they forced him to empty. Niekro attempted to causally toss an emery board and piece of sandpaper off to the side, but the umpires saw him do it. He was suspended 10 games for the incident.
Gaylord Perry famously used Vaseline to doctor the baseball. In fact, catcher Gene Mauch once said he couldn’t throw the ball back to the mound because there was too much grease on it. Perry could constantly be seen fidgeting with his sleeve and cap in order to add either a foreign substance or psyche batters out. Perry also used wax, resin, dirt and K-Y jelly to give him an advantage.
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