The first pitcher to use the slurve pitch is unknown. Johnny Sain of the Boston Braves was known to throw a slurve in the 1940s. On May 6, 1998 Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs utilized the slurve in a major-league record tying twenty strikeout game. Former Los Angeles Dodgers, Yakult Swallows and current Seibu Lions pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii, despite his well-documented control problems, uses a slurve almost exclusively against left-handers. Alfredo Aceves from the Boston Red Sox was also known to throw a slurve pitch. Popular rookie of 2010 Stephen Strasburg claims to throw a slurve although experts still call his pitch a curveball. Hall of Fame relief pitcher Goose Gossage stated that learning how to throw a slurve changed his career in his Yankeeography. Both Cy Young and Walter Johnson had slurves in their arsenals and Cy Young is the earliest known user of the pitch, having started his career in 1890.
Critics of the slurve call the pitch a sloppy slider because of its wide break. They claim that the slurve produces more home runs than a late breaking slider. The usefulness of the slurve is debated. The slurve is also claimed to cause problems to a pitcher. In 1998 Kerry Wood claimed his elbow soreness was caused by throwing the slurve.