Ah. The famed spitball. First made illegal in Major League Baseball in 1920 (helping end the Dead Ball era), the spitball is a ball that drops abruptly when thrown. A little wetness applied on the ball and a grip with no fingers on seams, and the pitcher can throw the ball by letting it slip out of his fingers, creating forward spin and a tremendous drop at the plate. Gaylord Perry, the king of the spitball, advises that 'a little dab'll do ya'.

Spit"ball` (?), n.


Paper chewed, and rolled into a ball, to be thrown as a missile.



A pitched ball in throwing which the pitcher grips the ball between two, or three, fingers on one side (which is made slippery, as by saliva) and the thumb on the other side, and delivers it so that it slips off the fingers with the least possible friction. When pitched directly overhand a spitball darts downward, when pitched with the arm extended sidewise it darts down and out. -- Spitballer.


© Webster 1913.

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