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"Legalize Spitter," Shellenback Urges,
Christian Science Monitor, September 10, 1965

"There never was anything wrong with the spitter until certain pitchers in my day started using it as a camouflage. I mean by that, they'd fake the spitter, but throw a ball that had been tampered with in some way. There were a lot of ways you could cheat. There was the shine ball, where one side of the ball was darkened with a sticky substance. Some pitchers would scuff the ball, and make it do all sorts of tricks.

"But the really great spitball pitchers had exceptional control. You could catch them in a rocking chair. The pitch was easy on the arm, so men who threw it lasted for a long time. Several of them worked more than twenty years and old Jack Quinn went for 28. It certainly never was injurious to the arm, which some now claim.

"However, most of those who criticize the spitter today just don't know what they're talking about. Most of them have never even seen the pitch and few of them have ever thrown it. I was first convinced of this fact when I read about the danger of balls slipping out of the hands of infielders. That's utterly ridiculous.

"In the first place, you don't wet the ball that much. And even if you did, the dampness would have been minimized by the time the pitchhad gone to the plate and had been hit back to the infield.

"They talk about the spitter being dangerous. Actually, it's not as dangerous as the fastball. It's a breaking pitch, so it isn't thrown as hard as a fastball.

"Most pitchers who went to the spitter in the old days did so because they didn't have a good curve. The spitter was a substitute for the overhand curve. And the fact that those old-time spitball pitchers had fine control proves that it isn't a pitch that got away from them and hit many batters. Then how could it be dangerous today?"

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