Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes that Mike Pelfrey’s “propensity for licking his hand is unrivaled in baseball.”
So naturally Costa tracked how many times Pelfrey actually licked his hand while on the mound for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins at Citi Field and the final tally was 89.
And he only pitched six innings, so Pelfrey’s pitch-to-lick ratio was 116-to-89. Pelfrey then explained himself:
It’s something I’ve always done. I think it becomes an issue where people tell me, instead of licking my hand, it looks like I’m licking my whole arm. That’s why it gets brought up. Guys have talked about, “Ahhh, you’re eating your whole hand.”
Pelfrey also explained that the added moisture helps him grip the ball and all the licking was legal, according to umpire Fieldin Culbreth, because “it is permissible for a pitcher to lick his hand as long as he wipes it on his uniform immediately afterward.”
But as rotation-mate R.A. Dickey told Costa: “Mike is a little bit over the top.”