Spitballers

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On September 10, 1934, grizzled reliever Burleigh Grimes helped the Pittsburgh Pirates to an inconsequential 9-7 win over the New York Giants in the Polo Grounds. For Grimes, the September contest marked his 270th and final win. For baseball, it marked the last time a legal spitballer would win a major league contest. Though the pitch had been banned in 1920, the American and National leagues both agreed to grant two exemptions per team to spitballers who were already in the majors. In 1921, both leagues agreed to extend grandfather provisions to cover the veteran spitball pitchers for the remainder of their careers. Under the extended rule, 17 pitchers were granted exemptions for their careers. This work looks at the lives and careers of these 17: Red Faber, Burleigh Grimes, Jack Quinn, Urban Shocker, Stan Coveleskie, Bill Doak, Ray Caldwell, Clarence Mitchell, Dutch Leonard, Ray Fisher, Dick Rudolph, Allen Sothoron, Phil Douglas, Allan Russell, Doc Ayers, Dana Fillingim and Marvin Goodwin.

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