Archive for category Knuckleballs
Classic look-back: Candiotti’s gem vs. Giants in June 1997
Posted by alifeofknuckleballs in Baseball, Dodgers Baseball, Knuckleballs, Low-hit Gems, Shutouts & Scoreless Streaks on July 1, 2020
Here’s a look back at a classic Candiotti game against the Giants from June 21, 1997.
Los Angeles Dodgers 11, San Francisco Giants 0 At 3Com Park
Tom Candiotti: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO.
So that’s why the Dodgers kept Tom Candiotti around. As insurance, just in case one of the starters went down.
Sent to the bullpen to begin the season, Candiotti finally made his first start of the year, filling in for injured starter Ramon Martinez, who’d complained the night before about a sore right shoulder.
The knuckleballer pitched seven shutout innings, lifting the Dodgers to an 11-0 victory over their arch rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
Candiotti had been sent to the bullpen because of the emergence of right-hander Chan Ho Park, who joined a Los Angeles rotation which already included Martinez, Hideo Nomo, Ismael Valdez, and Pedro Astacio—a pitching staff that was second in the majors only to the Atlanta Braves’ staff headed by Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz.
Although Candiotti, with 126 wins and a 3.53 ERA in his 13 big-league seasons entering 1997, was rumored to be traded all spring, Dodger general manager Fred Claire hung on to the knuckleballer, and it proved to be the right decision.
Through June 10, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Candiotti had three wins and a 2.03 ERA in 22 games, with five walks and 18 strikeouts, holding opposing hitters to a .212 average.
Then, on this Saturday afternoon, he held the Giants to just four hits in seven innings as the Dodgers bounced back from a 5-2 loss in the series opener on Thursday and a blown 7-0 lead on Friday night—a game which saw L.A. use six pitchers.
Candiotti even delivered at the plate, driving in the Dodgers’ sixth run on a squeeze bunt. The other Dodger heroes offensively were Raul Mondesi, who smacked an RBI triple and two-run single, and Tripp Cromer, who had three hits and three RBIs.
Candiotti and the Dodgers expected this would be his only start, as Ramon Martinez was expected to return after skipping just this start. As it turned out, though, Martinez’s injury was revealed to be a torn rotator cuff, and the Dodger ace would be sidelined for two months.
Although the Dodgers did not win the division in 1997, losing out to the Giants by two games, Candiotti did do the job for L.A., going 6-2 with a 3.62 ERA in 11 starts during Martinez’s absence. It should have been at least seven wins; he nearly beat the Giants again on July 12, handing the bullpen a 2-1 lead, only to see San Francisco batter two relievers for seven runs in the ninth.
Candiotti pitched well enough as a starter that when Martinez did return in August, the Dodgers dealt fourth starter Astacio (4-8 with a 5.19 ERA over a three-month stretch) to Colorado for second baseman Eric Young while keeping the knuckleballer in the rotation for the rest of the season.
A free agent after the 1997 season—he signed with the Oakland Athletics to stay on the West Coast—Candiotti would finish his six-year Dodger career with a 52-64 record despite a 3.57 ERA, thanks to poor run support. (It should be noted that Ramon Martinez, who received much better run support from the Dodgers, was 72-48 with a 3.67 ERA during that same stretch. In 1995, for instance, Martinez was 17-7 with a 3.66 ERA and a league-leading 81 walks and 138 strikeouts over 206.1 innings. Candiotti was 7-14 with a 3.50 ERA in 190.1 innings with 58 walks and 141 strikeouts.)
But, as Charlie Hough often told other knuckleballers, “When the other guys get hurt or don’t pitch well, be there when they need someone.” And that’s exactly what Candiotti did for the Dodgers in 1997.
Vintage clip of Candiotti in action with Blue Jays
Posted by alifeofknuckleballs in Baseball, Blue Jays Baseball, Knuckleballs, Rare Baseball Videos, Strikeouts, Strikeouts...strikeouts...strikeouts on April 22, 2019
Here’s a cool video of Tom Candiotti with Toronto in 1991:
Time to reflect back on the publication of “A Life of Knuckleballs”…
Posted by alifeofknuckleballs in Athletics Baseball, Baseball, Dodgers Baseball, Indians Baseball, Knuckleballs on February 17, 2019
I’m not one who toots his own horn. I rarely do that. But, in the era of social media and getting your name out there, I suppose it’s become a necessity to do so. After all, if you’ve written a book, you want people to know about it — and these days, it’s essential to use social media and the Internet to promote your works.
So, this brings me to this post today: I can’t believe how fast time has flown, but it’s been nearly five years now since my book about underrated knuckleball pitcher Tom Candiotti, A Life of Knuckleballs, was published by McFarland & Co.
I’m still blown away to see people buying a copy here and there. I mean, I’ve always thought that Candiotti didn’t get the accolades that he deserved in his career. So, to have a book about him published — albeit it a little too late, in my opinion, as it came out 15 years after his retirement — is an amazing thing.
It wasn’t an easy process, to be sure. Having a book published isn’t a simple matter of the writing part. It’s also listening to what the publisher wants. There were many stories that Candiotti told me which I originally included in the manuscript, but the publisher has a word limit and all that, and wanted a lot of those stories excluded in the book.
Perhaps some day I will post those stories that didn’t make it into the book on this website. We shall see.
But it’s been nearly five years since the book came out. Time to pat myself on the back.
Tweets of the Day – Knuckleball style…
Posted by alifeofknuckleballs in Baseball, Dodgers Baseball, Knuckleballs on August 26, 2018
Tweets of the day… involving #OTD in Dodgers history and a fan of my Tom Candiotti book!
Here’s the fan Tweet:
It was in response to my original Tweet regarding Candiotti’s feat on this day in 1993:
Chatting ’88 Dodgers on TSN1040
Posted by alifeofknuckleballs in Athletics Baseball, Baseball, Dodgers Baseball, Knuckleballs on August 24, 2018
Sorry, no knuckleballs here, but it’s about the 1988 Dodgers book that I wrote. I got a chance to chat with Rob Fai, play-by-play man of the Vancouver Canadians, on his pre-game show about the book:
Now, in regards to the event that I had attended in LA that was referenced in the show, I did run into a knuckleballer. Check this out!
Charlie Hough, pictured in the white cap, asked me a knuckleball trivia question – but I blew it. Oh well.