Today In Brewer History: So Long, Knuckleballers

Not everyone loves a knuckleballer, and today is the anniversary of the Brewers letting two leave as free agents.

It's possible no pitch in baseball history has become more storied than the knuckleball. Guys who resurrect their careers by learning to throw the unusual pitch become fascinating stories, as noted by R.A. Dickey's improbable run at the NL Cy Young this season.

With that said, today is the anniversary of two of the most famous knuckleballers in recent history leaving the Brewers as minor league free agents.

First, on this day in 1985 the Brewers let Tom Candiotti walk. He had yet to adopt the knuckleball when he appeared in 18 games for the Crew in 1983-84, and was allowed to leave as a free agent despite posting a 3.75 ERA over 32 minor league appearances in his final season in the organization. Candiotti pitched 252.1 innings and an AL-best 17 complete games the very next year for the Indians, and went on to play 14 more seasons in the majors.

Later, on this day in 1997 Steve Sparks moved on. Sparks had pitched 202 innings for the Brewers in the abbreviated 1995 season, but threw just 88.2 combined between 1996-97. He caught on the next year with the Angels and knuckled his was through seven more big league campaigns.

Today is also the 44th anniversary of the 1968 expansion draft, where the Seattle Pilots selected future Brewers including infielder Tommy Harper. We covered that event in this space last year.

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