Dating baseball terms
Frank Shellenback was probably the most notable "grandfathered" minor league pitcher.The spitball does not seem to have been outlawed in the Negro Leagues.Such pitches would tend to break sideways, with the direction of break controlled by which side of the ball was modified.The same general approach works with a ball that was defaced in any way, either by adding any kind of foreign substance or by scuffing the ball's surface.While the exemption was originally intended to last for just one season, the leagues backed off slightly after the season.They identified 17 "bona fide" spitball pitchers who were allowed to continue throwing the spitball for the remainder of their careers.With the spitter, though, he must actually get spit onto his hand or the ball.Even pitchers who were legitimately allowed to throw the spitter needed a way of disguising their intent so that hitters never knew if they were getting the spitball or another pitch.
It, and all other pitches involving doctoring the ball, was banned before the 1920 season, though some "bona fide" spitball pitchers were allowed to continue throwing the pitch for the remainder of their careers.
Since Grimes's retirement the spitball has been completely illegal in the majors, but some pitchers have been suspected of throwing it.
Notable pitchers who admitted throwing the spitter include Preacher Roe, Don Drysdale, and Gaylord Perry.
Many pitchers since have been accused of throwing spitballs illegally, and a few were either caught or admitted to doing so after retiring.
It is unclear when pitchers first began experimenting with the spitball, but there is no evidence that any pitcher made it an important part of his pitching arsenal before 1902.