Thought Tim Wakefield's retirement meant the end of the knuckleball? Think again.

Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey tossed back-to-back one-hitters in the past week to improve his 2012 record to 11-1. Dickey has not allowed an earned run in his last 42.2 innings and his 2.00 ERA is tied for the league lead. As the halfway point in the MLB season nears, Dickey is an early favorite for the NL Cy Young award and is the latest in the long line of knuckleball specialists.

In 1908, the New York Press credited Lew "Hicks" Moren as the knuckleball's inventor. After two games in two seasons with the Pirates from 1903-1904, Moren developed the pitch while in the minors from 1905-1906. When Moren returned to the major leagues in 1907 with the Phillies, he surprised opponents with his knuckleball. In four seasons with the Phillies, Moren posted a 2.95 ERA, but minimal run support led to a 48-56 record during that time.

Here is his MLB legacy of notable knuckleballers:

Greatest Knuckleball Pitchers In MLB History

Eddie
 

Eddie "Knuckles" Cicotte (1905-1920)

At around the same time Moren began creating his knuckleball, Cicotte was working on one of his own. Many baseball historians butt heads over who is the father of the knuckler, Moren or Cicotte. According to The New Yorker, Cicotte "discovered early in his career that by pressing the knuckles of his middle and index fingers against the ball's surface, and steadying the ball with his thumb, he could produce a spinless pitch, which would behave erratically and set batters on edge."

Eddie
 

Eddie "Knuckles" Cicotte (1905-1920)

Cicotte’s command of the pitch gave him a career record of 208-149 with 25 saves and a 2.38 ERA. In 1919, after a 12-19 season, the White Sox offered a $10,000 bonus for Cicotte if he could win 30 games. Cicotte won 29, but according to rumors, White Sox owner Charles Comiskey ordered manager Kid Gleason to bench Cicotte in the final games of the season to deny him the bonus money.

Eddie
 

Eddie "Knuckles" Cicotte (1905-1920)

It has been speculated this led Cicotte to take part in the fixing of the 1919 World Series in the "Black Sox" scandal. Cicotte won one of the three games he pitched in the World Series. He was one of the eight “Black Sox” players banned from baseball the following year.

Jesse
 

Jesse "Pop" Haines (1918-1937)

In Haines' first full season, 1920, he showed how durable knuckleballers could be. Pop pitched 301.2 innings in 47 appearances, including 37 starts as a rookie, all career bests. Haines pitched until age 43, winning 20 games three times.

Jesse
 

Jesse "Pop" Haines (1918-1937)

He won three World Series titles with the Cardinals and finished with a 210-158 record. Although Haines never gained more than 8.3% of votes for induction in his 12 years of Hall of Fame eligibility, the righty was elected into the Hall by the Veterans Committee in 1970.

Jesse
 

Jesse "Pop" Haines (1918-1937)

Haines also did one thing R.A. Dickey still has not done: He tossed a no-hitter on July 17, 1924 against the Boston Braves.

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)
 

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)

The White Sox star was not a knuckleball-only pitcher, but the pitch became especially useful to Lyons after a 1931 injury. On August 21, 1926, Lyons threw a no-hitter against the Red Sox in 67 minutes.

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)
 

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)

Lyons finished his career with 260 wins and 1,073 strikeouts, although those numbers may have been higher had Lyons not joined the Marine Corps form 1943-1945.

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)
 

Ted Lyons (1923-1946)

Lyons' 3.67 ERA is the second highest among Hall of Famers, and Lyons is the only pitcher in the Hall to have walked (1,121) more batters than he struck out.

Emil
 

Emil "Dutch" Leonard (1933-1953)

When a sore arm threatened to end Leonard's career in his mid 20s, the Brooklyn Dodgers gave up hope in their young pitcher in 1936. Leonard joined the Atlanta Crackers of the Class AA Southern Association with the hope he could rediscover his groove.

Emil
 

Emil "Dutch" Leonard (1933-1953)

Instead, Leonard discovered a knuckleball, his ticket back to the majors. Dutch pitched a total of 20 major leagues seasons, going 191-181 with 1,170 strikeouts and a 3.25 ERA.

Emil
 

Emil "Dutch" Leonard (1933-1953)

Leonard was also part of a Washington Senators four-man starting rotation in 1945 that included only knuckleballers. The crime novelist Elmore Leonard later adopted the nickname "Dutch" after the pitcher.

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)
 

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)

Niggeling was 34 when he made broke into the big leagues in 1938.

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)
 

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)

In nine seasons, the Iowa native finished in the top ten in ERA three times and strikeouts twice.

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)
 

Johnny Niggeling (1938-1946)

In 1945, Niggeling was one of the four pitchers in the Senators' famous all-knuckleballer rotation.

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)
 

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)

As a 29-year-old rookie with the New York Giants in 1952, Wilhelm led the National League with a 2.43 ERA in 71 relief appearances. For the next 20 seasons, Wilhelm fed off his rookie success as one of the most talented and durable relief pitchers of all time.

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)
 

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)

The eight-time All-Star retired at age 49 with a 2.52 ERA in 2,254.1 total innings, mostly out of the bullpen. His teams were not always satisfied with the pitch.

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)
 

Hoyt Wilhelm (1952-1972)

In 1958, Indians general manager Frank Lane, frustrated with the team's high number of passed balls, allowed the Orioles to clear Wilhelm off waivers. Wilhelm had a 2.49 ERA at the time. In 1985, Wilhelm became the first reliever ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)
 

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)

Purkey won 129 games and was selected to five All-Star Games in 13 seasons.

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)
 

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)

His best year came in 1962 when Purkey went 23-5 with 141 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA.

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)
 

Bob Purkey (1954-1966)

The knuckler's prime faded quickly afterwards, as Purkey tallied just 27 wins in his final four seasons.

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)
 

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)

Wood had won only one game before he received some advice from Wilhelm as a member of the White Sox in 1967. Wilhelm told Wood to throw his knuckleball exclusively, a decision that would make Wood a three-time All-Star and one of the most durable pitchers of all time.

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)
 

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)

Wood's best stretch came from 1971-1975, a time in which he recorded a minimum of 42 games started. Wood pitched a total of 376.2 innings in 1972.

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)
 

Wilbur Wood (1961-1978)

He finished his career with 164 wins, 163 of which came in his last 12 seasons with the White Sox.

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)
 

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)

As a Yankee, Jim Bouton won a World Series in 1962 and earned an All-Star appearance in 1963, but his career as a starting pitcher in New York slipped away after a 1965 arm injury.

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)
 

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)

As a reliever in the late 1960s Bouton used a knuckleball to keep his career afloat in the bullpen for the Yankees, Seattle Pilots and Astros.

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)
 

Jim Bouton (1962-1978)

He is also known for his controversial 1970 book, "Ball Four," which recounted his 1969 season as a Pilot/Astro and some memories from his Yankee years.

Phil
 

Phil "Knucksie" Niekro (1964-1987)

Maybe the most famous knuckleballer of all time, Niekro claimed 318 victories, the most ever by a knuckler and currently 16th most of all-time. Niekro was selected to five All-Star games, won five Gold Glove Awards, pitched a no-hitter on August 5, 1973 against the Padres and led the National League in wins twice and ERA once.

Phil
 

Phil "Knucksie" Niekro (1964-1987)

He won 20 games in three different seasons, and his 121 career victories after age 40 are more than any other pitcher.

Phil
 

Phil "Knucksie" Niekro (1964-1987)

Niekro was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997. Pete Rose once said: "I work for three weeks to get my swing down pat and Phil (Niekro) messes it up in one night."

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)
 

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)

The younger Niekro brother displayed little success in the majors before joining Phil in Atlanta in 1973. Phil helped Joe re-master the knuckleball their father had taught them, and Joe's career drastically improved.

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)
 

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)

From 1974-1985, Joe’s ERA never climbed above 4.00. Joe earned an All-Star bid in 1979 and a World Series ring with the Twins in 1987.

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)
 

Joe Niekro (1967-1988)

He finished his lengthy career with 221 wins and 1,747 strikeouts. The 539 wins between Phil and Joe Niekro are the most combined wins by brothers in major league history.

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)
 

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)

Hough roughly spent the first half of his career as a reliever before becoming a starter in the second half of his career. He mixed his knuckler in with a fastball and slider, and like many of his knuckleball forefathers, was known for longevity.

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)
 

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)

In 1984, he led the National League with 17 complete games. Hough finished with 2,362 strikeouts and a .500 winning percentage at 216-216.

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)
 

Charlie Hough (1970-1994)

He is also known for being one of the three Dodgers pitchers to give up a home to Reggie Jackson in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)
 

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)

Candiotti's knuckleball kept him in the majors for 17 seasons, although he finished his career with more losses (164) than wins (151).

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)
 

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)

Candiotti's best season came as an Indian in 1988, as he went 14-8 with a 3.28 ERA and 137 strikeouts.

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)
 

Tom Candiotti (1983-1999)

He made a brief appearance in Billy Crystal's 2001 movie "61*" as Hoyt Wilhelm.

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)
 

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)

Wakefield was drafted in 1988 by the Pirates as a first baseman. In the minors, Wakefield transitioned into a pitcher and toiled with the mastering of a knuckleball. The Pirates called him up in the second half of the 1992 season. Wakefield tossed 146 pitches in a complete game in his major league debut. He went 8-1 with a 2.15 ERA that season to win the NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year Award.

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)
 

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)

Wakefield also won two games in the 1992 NLCS, both against Tom Glavine. After an unsuccessful 1993 season, Wakefield spent the strike-shortened 1994 season in the minors before signing with the Red Sox in 1995. Upon signing with Boston, Wakefield worked with the Niekro brothers to improve his knuckleball. The result was 17 successful seasons in Boston in which Wakefield became a fan favorite.

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)
 

Tim Wakefield (1992-2011)

He finished with 200 wins, 97 of which came at Fenway Park, giving him the second most wins in stadium history (Roger Clemens had 100). He was a two-time World Series champion and one-time All-Star with the Red Sox. Wakefield retired at age 44 with a total of 3,226.1 innings pitched.

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)
 

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)

With the exception of a 14-9 season in 2001 with a 3.65 ERA and 8 complete games, Sparks’ knuckleball lacked the spark Wakefield's had in the same era.

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)
 

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)

Sparks finished his five-team career with a 59-76 record and a 4.88 ERA.

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)
 

Steve Sparks (1995-2004)

Sparks' career may have been different had he not dislocated his shoulder attempting to rip a phone book in half at a motivational seminar in 1994.

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)
 

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)

Dickey pitched for the Rangers, Mariners and Twins before joining the Mets in 2010.

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)
 

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)

Dickey went 9-8 with the Rangers in 2003, but didn't record another winning season until going 11-9 in 2010, his first season for the Mets.

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)
 

R.A. Dickey (2001-present)

Dickey was originally a first-round pick of the Rangers in 1996.

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