“Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs” can be purchased from the McFarland & Company website or through! It’s really easy!




Who is Tom Candiotti? If you watched baseball during the 1980s and 1990s, undoubtedly you have heard of Candiotti, who is currently a color analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He normally works the radio broadcasts but sometimes gets assigned television work as well with the Diamondbacks. He was formerly a knuckleball pitcher in the major leagues.

Why is there a book written about Candiotti? Well, his story is an inspirational one. He overcame a major surgery that would have forced him to give up baseball when he was in his early 20s had the procedure not worked. He actually lost money when he played for a team in Victoria, Canada, when he was trying to make it to the majors (he made around $10 Canadian per day). He was constantly told by scouts and coaches that he would never amount to anything in baseball. He never gave up and got to where he was. Someone like that deserves a book written about him.

Candiotti’s story is also a historical one in the context of baseball. According to Candiotti, he was only the 20th pitcher in the major leagues to use a knuckleball as a primary pitch on a full-time basis. Obviously, being the 20th player in baseball history to accomplish a feat means you deserve a book written about you too.

I wrote this book because I wanted to recognize Candiotti for his pitching as well as the struggles he faced in order to get to the majors. His story is one that has been forgotten but I believe can be a source of inspiration and motivation for others. I thought that if he had pitched in the social media era that we are in now, he would have been more recognized the way other athletes are publicized these days. Most sports fans know about basketball player Jeremy Lin having to sleep on a buddy’s couch because he didn’t have anywhere to stay – and that’s because of social media. Candiotti, similarly, had to overcome this situation and also a major elbow surgery, known as Tommy John surgery, to get to the big leagues [1]. However, not many people remember this about Candiotti.

During his pitching days in the major leagues, Candiotti threw a knuckleball as his main pitch, playing primarily for the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers. He also pitched briefly for the Toronto Blue Jays, Milwaukee Brewers, and Oakland Athletics. Because knuckleballers are rare in the game – as the pitch is very difficult to throw – Candiotti was one of only three or four active pitchers who used that pitch in the entire major leagues throughout his career [2].

Candiotti did not receive a lot of accolades, however, during his career because he was often the victim of poor run support, especially with the Indians and Dodgers. He even suffered a losing record (6-7, 2.98) pitching for a first-place team in Toronto in 1991! He was often overlooked by the media for his fine pitching, as his 3.44 ERA for a full decade from 1986-1995 indicates. His career losing record (thanks to the poor support), coupled with the fact that pitchers who can throw 95-100 mph are more highly regarded, contributed to the lack of coverage he received [3].

Several readers who picked up a copy of this book have emailed me through this site to let me know they enjoyed it, and here are a couple:

I bought this book for my son who is a huge sports fan. He is currently a little league pitcher and when he is off the field, I like to see him read books that he enjoys. I have a hard time finding books that he likes, so I try to stick to the sports books as he seems to like those the best. He really enjoyed this one. While Candiotti wasn’t in his era, he still learned a lot about this legend. Candiotti was an inspiration to him as he came back from tommy john surgery before even entering the league. This story recounts everything that Candiotti did to make it to the top of his game. My son loved it and wants to reread it. I’m hoping to find more books from this author soon, these are such a great read for my son!
-Gigi, via email, September 2014

I really enjoyed this book about Tom Candiotti. It was nice to learn more about him through this story. I was always a fan of his while he was playing and often wondered about his background. The biography is based on information from Candiotti himself along with his managers, teammates, the media and other resources. The author does a great job of putting the story together and I found it to be well-written. I would say that biographies are my favorite types of books to read. I really enjoy getting the more personal side of athletes and what they are going through. This book did a great job of presenting the information and it told Candiotti’s story so well. K.P. Wee is truly a talented author and I hope to read more from him in the future.
-Gracie, via email, September 2014

Once again, Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs can be picked up here.

[1] Candiotti was only the second player ever to come back and pitch following this surgery, which at the time was regarded as a radical procedure. The surgery had been performed eight times prior to Candiotti, and seven of those first eight resulted in failures.

[2] When he started throwing the knuckleball, for instance, there were only the two Niekro brothers, Phil and Joe, as well as Charlie Hough, using the pitch in the majors. When those pitchers retired, a couple other notable knuckleballers, namely Tim Wakefield and Steve Sparks, began pitching in the major leagues along with Candiotti.

[3] Fans, as well as the media, are more fascinated with conventional pitchers who can throw fastballs at 95-100 mph. A knuckleball pitcher’s fastest pitch (fastball) is around 80 mph, and his knuckleball generally is thrown around 70 mph or even slower.



Here are a few reviews found on as well as other sites:


By Thomas A., on 92.6 The Blitz, September 2014: 



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….and finally, one more reminder about “Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs”… if you’re looking for a baseball biography for yourself or a baseball lover in the family, you know what to do!

  1. Leonard Kim Tom Candiotti: A Life of Knuckleballs - Leonard Kim

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