We've always thought if there were a mainstream sports breakthrough for a woman, a sport in which a woman could compete on the same field as men, it would be as a knuckleball pitcher in Major League Baseball. It doesn't require strength, and you need to be smart. And not just women can do it: Old men could too.
As a half-promotional, half-oh-what-the-hell gimmick, the St. Paul Saints have invited to camp a 53-year-old knuckleball pitcher named Jon Secrist.
"I really feel good, and I'll give it my best," Secrist said before it was eventually announced the weather was forcing the Saints to push the tryout until 9 a.m. today. "I'll be ecstatic if I make it. At my age, it's a one-in-a-million chance just to try out and a one-in-a-billion chance to make the club."
He'd received a sniff here and there from a scout or two, but never the call he's been waiting for. Until Saints part-owner Mike Veeck, who has contacts in Los Angeles, rang in December.
We don't understand why, if someone has perfected the knuckleball — and it's hardly clear that Secrist has — they couldn't pitch until they were 90. The knuckleball is the one thing in sports that can beat age, gender, all of it. Why isn't everyone trying to throw one?
Even At 53, Pitcher Ready To Give It A Go With Saints [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]