Mentock: Baseball’s original secret weapon: the spitball

From Andrew Mentock at Ozy on May 7, 2019, with mention of SABR member John Thorn:

Cleveland’s League Park was filled to capacity for Game 7 of the 1920 World Series between the Indians and the Brooklyn Robins. The result was a 3-0 victory by the Indians, which gave the ball club a decisive fifth win in the best-of-nine series. Once the last batter was out, fans swarmed onto the field to celebrate their city’s first Major League Baseball crown.

For most, the hero of the game and the series was right-handed pitcher Stanley Coveleski. During the series, he won three games, pitched a total of 27 innings, gave up two runs and averaged just 87 pitchers per complete game he threw. After Game 7, The New York Times wrote that Coveleski left the Robins “powerless” and “humiliated,” and the Associated Press said his performance “will go down as one of the most standing features of World Series history.”

While there’s no asterisk next to the Indians’ first World Series victory, Coveleski accomplished this feat largely thanks to a substance that was already partially banned from the game of baseball: his saliva.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 17, 2019. Last Updated: May 17, 2019.