Dear Mr. Baseball:
When Hoyt Wilhelm came to the Orioles with his knuckler, Gus Triandos had a hard time handling his pitches, so Paul Richards, the manager, had the oversized catcher's mitt designed. Are such mitts still in use?
Dear Joseph Kasprzak:
As you point out, the Orioles did play a historic role in the development of the knuckleball catcher's glove. You may not know about other lesser-known inventions developed by team employees, which include chewing tobacco that glows in the dark and the reversible batting helmet.
A few calls to baseball-glove companies produced the following information. Yes, oversized gloves still are being manufactured, though they are not as large. (Mizuno and Rawlings are among the companies still making them). As for catchers who have used big mitts: Benito Santiago of the Florida Marlins.
Dear Mr. Baseball:
One of the most confusing things to me is when a pitcher is credited with a save and when he's not. Is there any rule that applies to this, or do sportswriters like you just give them to the pitchers they like the most?
Dear S. Marcus:
At least once a week, Mr. Baseball is asked for an explanation of the save rule, though usually the question is phrased in a slightly more neighborly manner.
The answer is found in the Official Baseball Rules, Section 10.20. This provision, titled appropriately, "Saves for Relief Pitchers," says that a pitcher should be awarded a save if he (or she) satisfies the following criteria.
The pitcher finishes a game his team has won AND he is not the winning pitcher AND he satisfies one of these tests: (1) He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches at least one inning; (2) he enters the game with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck; and (3) he pitches effectively for three innings.
For his next trick, Mr. Baseball will now read the side panel of an aspirin bottle.