IamA former MLB pitcher and the only man to ever pitch in all 7 games of a world series AMA!
I've played for 8 different major league clubs and was on 3 world series winners. In 1973 I became the first and only person to have pitched in all 7 games of the world series. I'm still coaching in baseball, and my total career has spanned 53 years.
Ask me anything!
EDIT: Gotta run for now. Thanks for all the great questions!
Which player from an opposing team was the best "sportsman," in terms of being gracious and polite and all that?
Brooks Robinson was and still is probably the most true gentleman I ever met in the game
Just amazing. I'm not sure what to ask just astounded by your accomplishments.
How fast can you throw today?
Thank you very much! I'm nearly 72 years old so I can't throw all that fast anymore. Maybe 60? but I'm not sure. My fast ball was probably about 90 in my prime, but I relied more on a good sinker and a good slider. I do throw batting practice every day in the summer now though.
What has changed the most in the game since you started your career? What has stayed the same?
The biggest difference in the game today is probably the money. Also, players are probably protected more now than they were in my day when it comes to injuries. As far as what is the same, the game itself hasn't changed.
Wikipedia says that your rate of picking off baserunners is the highest of all-time! What made you so successful at picking guys off? Did they eventually adjust and quit taking leads when you were on the mound?
Fortunately I developed a solid pick off move early in my career and yes, eventually runners stopped running as much. As a side note, even I did not know I held that record until a couple years ago when it was mentioned that Andy Petitt held that record and it was corrected on air during the world series, but it was just another part of learning to pitch and being able to control the running game.
What's your favorite pitching performance in a game 7 and why is it Jack Morris?
Kudos to Jack Morris, but I don't think you can ever forget Bob Gibson of the Cardinals in the 60s
My sons are 7 & 9 and they just completed their first season of baseball. They both loved it and are looking forward to playing spring ball. What advice do you have for kids their age to improve their game?
Always respect the game, have fun. The winning and losing comes later. At that age its just about baseball.
Could you share (without naming names) anecdotes or details on the use/prevalence of PEDs that you personally saw in MLB clubhouses?
I honestly, in 15 years in the major leagues, don't think I ever witnessed anyone using PEDs. It wasn't something that was really done back then.
Hey Darold! Who are three players who belong in the Hall of Fame but aren't (let's say, aside from the "steroid guys" like Clemens and Bonds), and which three players would you kick out?
Obviously Pete Rose should be in based on his credentials as a player. I'm also a fan of Tim Raines and there are a few others that should be considered especially some old time relievers, but I do understand that its a process. I honestly wouldn't kick anyone out as I believe everyone there deserves to be there. I don't think anyone there was involved with PEDs (at least not to my knowledge).
Looking back on your career is there one hitter that you enjoyed striking out more then any other?
Thats a great question, and you try equally hard with everyone, but I do remember how badly I wanted to strike out Joe Pepitone one night. I wound up being successful against him only once, it was a very tough out.
Do you think that Cleveland is building a strong foundation to finally end the now 66 year drought?
Yes it appear so, Terry Francona has done a great job molding a mix of veterans and youth. They appear to be on their way, who knows how far they'll go.
So what do you think of Dock Ellis pitching a no-hitter while on LSD? Could you have pitched at a major league level while under the influence of some drug/alcohol?
No way I could have done it. I've never even attempted.
I also see where you played two seasons with the Cubs. What are your thoughts on your time in Chicago, the current state of the organization and when the Cubs might finally break this damn curse?
Great city, great ballpark, even though we lost two of my favorite years as a player. The organization is rebuilding but as a former player and fan, I hope they break the curse soon!
Greetings from Baltimore. It was an honor to watch you play.
Thanks for remembering. Happy cake day!
Thanks for doing this, which batter did you dread the most in that series?
I was pretty confident in that series, to be honest. I never really questioned my ability against any of them. The toughest out was probably the last out against Wayne Garrett.
After all the teams you've played for, what team do you root for now?
Well I'm currently employed by the Toronto Blue Jays so of course I root for them.
Who are some of the players you like to watch play the game today?
I'm a big fan of hard nosed players like Pedroia of the Red Sox, but overall I enjoy watching any competitive game.
Incredible achievements, and I wouldn't be surprised if pitching in all 7 games of the WS takes a loooooong time to be done again, if ever, kudos. In a way that sparks this question:
What's your stance on pitch counts becoming more and more strict recently in order to prevent injury, when there are no real reports that say when injury risk increases based on an exact number of pitches?
Also, do you still regularly watch the MLB? Do you think there's anything the next commissioner has to fix about the league when he steps in?
Thanks for doing this!
Thank you! As an employee of the Toronto Blue Jays, I do understand why the organization puts pitch counts on young pitchers. The money is so great that they don't want to take chances. As a true believer, I'm still oldschool in that thinking and feel that sometimes we are too protective. But again... I do understand. Because I am coaching a professional team, I don't have as much time to watch games as I would like, but I watch whenever I can. As far as the next commissioner, thats kind of a loaded question, but theres still some things that could be changed in regard to the instant replay implementation. I'm sure they will continue to try to keep the game honorable and hopefully they find some way to speed games up.
Do you think Clayton Kershaw can win a third Cy Young?
Its anybody's guess, he certainly has the talent!
It appears they aren't going to be allowed that privilege and I can't say I disagree.
Curious, where are you coaching at now days and what is the most common advice/teaching tool you provide to young players based off your own experience?
I'm currently the pitching coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League. At that level its very important to teach pitchers to understand the situation will always help you to determine what you throw and how you pitch. Its not so much mechanics as knowing why and when.
Thanks for doing this AMA. What are your thoughts on knuckleballs and knuckleballers?
Also, what is your vision for baseball in the next 10 to 15 years? Do you think the sport will grow or contract?
Knuckleballers are an obvious rarity in the game. There have only been a handful that were successful. And anyone that can throw it for strikes will be successful. I don't think the game will ever contract. Baseball seems to break attendance records yearly. And with the problems that are happening in football due to concussions and other injuries baseball should continue to be enjoyable for people of all ages.
Thanks for doing this AMA!
Who is the best player you ever played with and/or against?
I've played with 5 hall of famers - Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson, Andre Dawson, and Lou Brock. Collectively (and obviously) they were all outstanding. I've played against a lot of fantastic players, but the best all around player early in my career was hall of famer Willie Mays
Who intimidated you the most when they were at bat?
I was lucky enough as a pitcher to bat once against Sandy Koufax and Juan Marichal. Needless to say they both made me look silly, but intimidation was on in my vocabulary.
At what level are you coaching?
I coach the high A Florida State League Dunedin Bluejays.
Of all the teams you played for which team did you enjoy the home atmosphere of the most?
I always seemed to adapt and enjoy where I was, but I did grow up as a Cardinal fan so I really enjoyed playing my last 2 years in the majors with them.
How hard was it for you to adjust from being on the Oakland A's, where you won three straight titles, to the Chicago Cubs, where the team struggled to get to .500? Was it tough to adjust to not winning a majority of your games?
Thats a great question. I probably didn't handle all the day game in Chicago my first year as well as I should have. Consequently the stats and my performance was sub par. I made a big adjustment my second year and I think the numbers will show that. Sometimes we forget where we are and what we are there for. Obviously my second year was a lot better than my first.
How crazy is it for you to understand how Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter on acid? Is it talked about or a legend in professional circles?
Its been talked of many times. I actually played with Ellis with the Texas Rangers. He was a very good friend. He had some off the field issues, but in his later years he was a great ambassador to the game and a very good counselor for people with problems.
Do you have abs?
Like, a 6 pack?
Yes. Or the brake system in your car. Do you have either of those?
Everyone needs to know!
I've always wondered this, and have never received a satisfactory answer for:
Why when pitchers are sent up to bunt, don't they bat from their non-natural side? It always terrifies me to see Gio Gonzalez, Strasburg, or Zimmermann square up to bunt with their throwing hand hanging out over the plate.
Bonus question: Where you with the Senators when Ted Williams was skipper? What was that like? How did he handle you pitchers?
Its always a concern for the management as well. Its probably why they don't bunt as much as they used to. It certainly can be dangerous. If that's their natural side though, its very difficult to make that adjustment.
Ted was not a great handler of pitchers, but to his credit, the perfectionist that he was, he got better. He is still probably the most charismatic man I've ever met.
Do you have any funny/interesting stories to share from your playing days? I know you shared a bullpen with some crazy characters, e.g. Rollie Fingers.
Thanks for doing the AMA!
Thats a subject for another day! Too many stories to tell. Suffice it to say that pretty much everything written about the A's in the 70s was true!
Did you pride yourself over your .296 batting average in Oakland?
I wasn't aware of having that batting average in Oakland. If thats true I guess I'm proud!
Darold - I have two questions for you. First off, do you think that the "Nationals" should have resurrected the "Senators" name? ALSO: I'm a Cubs fan, will they ever win it all?
I played for the Senators and they used to call us the nasty nats, so I don't know if it really matters. They're starting a whole new chapter of baseball in DC and the name Nationals seems to fit. And as for the Cubs, I just hope I'm alive to see it!
What were your favorite parks to play at during your career? Did they have any memorable quirks or features that an outsider wouldn't know about?
For some reason, the three parks I enjoyed the most were all hitters parks. Fenway, old Tiger stadium and Wrigley field. I was successful and have great memories from all of them.
What is your take on Joe Mauer moving from C to 1b? EDIT: What was going through your head when you pitched every game? Thanks for doing the AMA!
He move to 1b due to concussion issues, they certainly wanted to keep his bat in the lineup and it was the best option. When the series started, I just wanted to pitch in one game because I missed the opportunity in 72 due to a broken thumb. After the first game I was just trying to help the team win. I hadn't considered that it hadn't been done before.
What kind of vacuum cleaner do you use?
Edit : Spelled a word wrong
You'd have to ask my wife.
Anyone that pitches a shutout against Boston is A+ in my book. Glad you're here Darold.
Besides French, were there any other reasons you left the Expos so quickly?
Thank you! The shutout was a great memory, and incidentally it was the only complete shutout I ever threw in the major leagues. As a reliever that was a great thrill. As far as leaving the Expos, my children were small and it wasn't an easy situation for them due to the language barrier. It was a tough decision because we had an extremely talented team.
When did you realize you had what it takes to get to the pros?
As a child it was always my dream. I never questioned whether I had the ability. It was just a matter of making it happen. I always knew I was going to be a major league baseball player. I obviously had to make a lot of adjustments along the way but it was never in mind that I wouldn't make it.
Can you describe the daily grind of the Florida State League? I hear it's hot as hell.
I think you just answered your own question. You get used to it but its probably more of a grind because of the heat than any other league. It is relentless.
While it's inevitable that you've had an handful of incredible memories on the field, what is your best memory off of the field?
Obviously I have great memories with my family, but if we're keeping it baseball related, I was recently inducted into both the Florida State League Hall of Fame and the Missouri (my home state) Sports Hall of Fame.
If you could flip a coin, what would be the outcome?
What's it like to play inside the Coliseum? You hear how bad of a place it is but what's it like to actually be on the field?
I actually think its in better shape now than it was in the years that I played there. But its huge and probably outdated. The fans deserve a better facility. Also the weather is certainly a consideration.
Is the knuckleball kind of bullshit?
Absolutely not. Every pitcher alive has tried to learn how to throw it but only a few have been able to master command.
Do you think they should have instant replay? If so, on what type of plays should it be used?
Good question. I don't think you can take the game away from the umpires. But any potential game changing plays should probably be considered reviewable.
What's the talent difference in the Major Leagues compared to AAA? What's the talent difference between the top tier Major Leguers and some of middle of the road players?
Night and day. Consistency is the key ingredient in the major leagues.
What's your name? What was your go-to pitch?
Probably should have included that. My name is Darold Knowles and my go to pitch was either sinker or slider.
To borrow from Satchel Paige: Don't ever look back, something might be gaining on you.
Are you Darold Knowles?
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