Chris Nowlin threw his first competitive pitch in a professional game at the age of 25, and for the last six seasons he has played professionally in the U.S. and abroad─without ever having played baseball in high school or college. He was able to do this because he followed his dream and because he had a great mentor.
On a warm and humid New England afternoon, a young Nowlin had a run-in with fate. His father treated him to a game at Fenway Park where Tim Wakefield would be making one of his first appearances as a Red Sox. He snuck down behind the backstop and watched the ball dance toward the catcher. “That’s magic,” he thought. From then on, whenever the weather warmed up he’d toss balls around the yard and pretend to be a Major League knuckleballer.
Nowlin focused on academics and graduated from the University of Massachusetts. He was preparing for law school when he decided to throw caution to the win and chase his dream instead. He sold everything he owned for $500 on the front yard of his college house, packed up his car, and drove to the Southwest. There he committed himself to doing the impossible: becoming a professional knuckleball pitcher even though he hadn’t played baseball since Little League.
That’s when Charlie Hough took him under his wing. Nowlin learned to throw the knuckleball from the 24-year Major League vet alongside R.A. Dickey, the eventual 2012 Cy Young Award winner.
Nowlin was a clean slate when Hough found him. He had no bad habits to break and he learned everything about the delivery of the knuckleball from the ground up. Moreover, his relative inexperience when he began his pitching career obliged him to forge a rock-solid mental approach if he was to successfully navigate the egos and stress of the pro game.
Nowlin has developed his deep understanding of the knuckleball with the help of the knuckleball fraternity: Charlie Hough, RA Dickey, Phil Niekro and Tom Candiotti. Having endured the turbulent life of a minor league knuckleball pitcher for the past six years, he knows what it takes to compete with the knuckleball and he shares that knowledge with Knuckleball Nation: the Instructional DVD.
Links to Articles About Chris Nowlin
The story of how Chris Nowlin broke into professional baseball in a Boston-area newspaper:
Nowlin is interviewed by a magazine on Hawaii with RA Dickey:
Chris Nowlin pitching a televised minor league game: