Legend’s Secrets Revealed: Star Pitcher Creighton Relied on “Onionball”

creighton_onion

At the time of his now-legendary demise, nineteenth-century pitcher Jim Creighton was already one of the superstars of the fledgling sport of baseball. Creighton’s exploits on the diamond (which included hurling the first shutout in history, and being put out only four times in an entire season) were remarkable enough to begin with, but — as with Shelley, or Hendrix, or Princess Diana — his shockingly premature death catapulted him from star to mythic hero. Later generations looked back with awe, unable to fathom how he had attained such dominance on the mound.

Until now.

Using a cutting-edge tool known as Image Enlargement (IE), a team of researchers has now uncovered conclusive evidence that Creighton used not a baseball, but rather fresh produce, to stymie contemporary batters. That the onion seems to have been his vegetable of choice certainly helps account for a few mysteries surrounding Creighton’s pitching — including reports of unusually irregular movement on his pitches, allegations that balls sometimes “flew apart” before reaching the plate, and anecdotes involving the peculiar stench that often accompanied the young hurler.

“Rules about equipment were notoriously lax during that period,” says Nerdley Wentwhistle of the Society for American Baseball Research. “Creighton could have gotten away with using just about any roughly globular object. His genius was in picking just about the last thing anyone would have expected. The element of surprise is a powerful thing.”



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Yirmiyahu
Member

That looks like it could be a lemonball to me.

Lazy
Guest
Lazy

Simply more proof the onion was his sphere of choice(…!):

comment image

Yirmiyahu
Member

There’s some photoshopping going on. I’m guessing someone took the above grainy photo and removed the teammates and cleaned it up into the Wikipedia one? Someone get the Investigative Reporting Investigation Team on this.

Abraham Simpson
Guest
Abraham Simpson

That onion should be affixed to his belt, which was the style at the time.

TK
Guest
TK

Anyway, long story short… is a phrase whose origins are complicated and rambling

tz
Guest
tz

If that onion was about eight inches higher up, my company’s internet filter software would have deleted it.

Trust me, it’s that sensitive here.

Damaso's Burnt Shirt
Guest
Damaso's Burnt Shirt

I imagine that the batters wouldn’t find that pitch a-peeling.

tz
Guest
tz

Ouch. That one really brought tears to my eyes.

Chris K
Guest
Chris K

Smithers: I’m afraid all of those players have retired and, uh,passed on. In fact, your rightfielder has been dead for 130 years.

Clock
Guest
Clock

thought that was a nipple

Arkansas Native
Guest
Arkansas Native

Heh, I love the SABR inclusion.

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