Baseball has an interesting and albeit complicated history when it comes to cheating. For example, Pete Rose had more hits than any other player in baseball but is excluded from baseball because of his gambling on baseball games. But Gaylord Perry who was renowned as the most proficient spitball pitcher of his day (which was of course by that time illegal) is in the Hall of Fame and revered as one of the heroes of the game. And Perry is not alone among Hall of Fame indcutees that were practitioners of baseball doctoring during their careers.
Jonah Keri has a fascinating history of the lost art of doctoring pitches. Defacing a baseball was one a necessary skill to be an effective pitcher. But it wasn’t rule changes that ultimately made the spitball and its illegal cousins extinct. Check out the article to find out more and why one could make the case that pitchers should start doing it again.
Hat tip: Craig Calcaterra