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Speaking Out For the Spitter

"The development of the spit-ball has improved present-day base ball [sic] more than any other thing. The spit-ball has made the game faster and more scientific than it was 10, 15, or 20 years ago, and many of the players who were classed as stars in the 'olden days' would be considered of but ordinary ability now."

Unfortunately, Jennings does not elaborate. And a few year later he was reported to be anti-spitball.
Hughie Jennings, manager of the Detroit Tigers, 1907-1920,
quoted in Sporting Life, November 18, 1911
"I do not believe the spitting on the ball by the pitcher has any more effect upon the health of the player than spitting on the bait 'for luck' when fishing has to do with the size of the catch."

In response to a school principal who said the use of the spitball was "a disgusting and pernicious example to thousands of boys," Dr. Young did concede, "Unquestionably, there is much to be said in your behalf [sic] when the question is viewed from the standpoint of esthetics."
Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. George Young,
Sporting Life, Sept. 27, 1913
"Do you think I'd be pitching now after all these years if the spitter was hard on my arm?"
Jack Quinn, spitball pitcher who pitched in the majors until he was 50, in 1933,
quoted in Baseball Magazine, March 1927
"If the spitter isn't given back to the hurlers, they'll have to dig a bigger graveyard every season for dead arm pitchers. The spitball would give pitchers a chance to ease up now and then. At times they could bluff with it-make believe they were going to throw it and shoot something else. It would relieve their pressure. It's got to come back."

Street also expressed concern about another element putting pressure on modern-day (1938) pitchers, the encroachment of the left-field and right-field stands.
Gabby Street, Belleville (Illinois)
News Democrat, August 29, 1938
"There's nothing dangerous about it [the spitball]. There's nothing dangerous about it and it gives the pitcher something to bluff with. As matters are now, pitching is not skill. It's bravery."
Gabby Street, manager and former catcher ,
New York Times, August 30, 1938
"The Volstead Act was no harder on moisture, all in all, than the spitball rule. And the Volstead Act is dead. The dry law in baseball may last forever."
John Lardner, sportswriter and son of Ring Lardner,
Sport, February 1955
"My impression is that the pitch [the spitter] was barred because it was being used as a cover-up for other kinds of pitches in which the ball was scuffed or doctored.

"If the spitter comes back, b'Judas Priest, 'twill turn the game of baseball upside down."
Branch Rickey, Hall of Fame baseball executive,
quoted in Sport, February 1955
"The Rules keep a pitcher from doing anything-even sneezing.. Sure, fans like to see free-hitting games, but I believe they want to see those hits earned fairly. We all know the game has softened a bit. I say, 'Let's harden it up again! Let's legalize something illegal! Let's bring back the spitball!'"
Dizzy Dean, Hall of Fame pitcher,
Los Angeles Times, August 20, 1961
"It's quite possible some pitchers could add three, four or even five years to their careers if allowed to use the spitball.. Most spitballers had unusually long careers. A spitball is not a dangerous pitch and not harmful to the arm."
Joe Cronin, President of the American League and former infielder,
New York Times, November 11, 1961
"I believe bringing back the spitball would be a good thing for the game. I would like to see the pitchers get this additional weapon. The home-run increase could stand reduction, and the spitter would help considerably in that direction. Then too legalization of the spitter would be a new thing, a source of discussion everywhere."
Ford Frick, Commissioner of Baseball and former sportswriter,
The Sporting News, November 22, 1961
"They should legalize it [the spitball] and stop this nonsense. I've said this before, of course, but the mound is the only place where they get technical. Batters can cheat, fielders can cheat, and so can base runners. But they really bear down on the pitchers. Every major rule change while I've been in the big leagues has been against the pitcher.

"I'd like to see them give the pitcher the advantage of the spitter. It would help a lot of them. And it would stop those .230 hitters from complaining-those mediocres who are always looking for the alibi. If they couldn't cry 'spitter' to the umpires, what would they moan about?

"The great ones never alibi. They blame themselves or they give credit to the pitcher, credit for making a good pitch. It is a story as old as the game of baseball."
Warren Spahn, Hall of Fame pitcher (and teammate of suspected spitball pitcher Lou Burdette), Christian Science Monitor, September 10, 1965
"The spitter didn't stop Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Larry Lajoie, and others from hitting .400."
Ray Schalk, Hall of Fame catcher,
Chicago Tribune, March 17, 1968

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