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Candy Cummings

Born: October 18, 1848(1848-10-18)
Ware, Massachusetts
Died: May 16, 1924 (aged 75)
Toledo, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 22, 1872 for the New York Mutuals
Last MLB appearance
August 18, 1877 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     145-94
Earned run average     2.49
Complete games     233
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1939
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

William Arthur "Candy" Cummings (October 18, 1848 – May 16, 1924) was a professional baseball pitcher in the National Association and National League who was credited with inventing the curveball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.



At 17, Cummings began playing baseball with the Brooklyn Excelsior baseball club of the NABBP.[1] His first game with the team was on August 24, 1866 against the Newark Eurekas, where he led his team to a 24-12 win.[1] Baseball writer Henry Chadwick commented on the skills of the young Cummings after this first game and his promising future with the Excelsior club.[2].

During a 6 year career which lasted from 1872 until 1877, Cummings compiled a 145-94 career record and 2.49 ERA while playing for five different teams. Among other records, Cummings was the first player to record two complete games in one day: September 9, 1876 when he beat the Cincinnati Reds 14-4 and 8-4.[3]

In 1877 Cummings left the National League after pitching only 19 games with the Cincinnati Reds to become the President of the new International Association for Professional Base Ball Players.[1]

Invention of the Curveball

Cummings is often credited with being the first pitcher to throw a curveball, which he reportedly threw in a game in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1867 while playing for the Brooklyn Excelsiors, with other sources saying the Brooklyn Stars. Cummings says that he discovered the idea of the curveball while studying the movement sea shells made when thrown. After noticing this movement, he began to attempt to make the same motion with a baseball, thus creating the curveball.[1] He would later recall from that game: "I became fully convinced that I had succeeded ... the batters were missing a lot of balls; I began to watch the flight of the ball through the air, and distinctly saw it curve."

Another pitcher to lay claim to inventing the curveball is New Haven, Connecticut-born Fred Goldsmith, a former major-leaguer who is credited for giving the first publicly recorded demonstration of the pitch (to sportswriter-baseball historian Henry Chadwick) on August 16, 1870, at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, New York. {See the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, August 17, 1870.}[1]

Candy Cummings was born in Ware, Massachusetts, and died in Toledo, Ohio.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e David L. Fleitz (2004). Ghosts in the gallery at Cooperstown: sixteen little-known members of the Hall of Fame. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co. ISBN 0-7864-1749-8. 
  2. ^ The Chronology - 1866
  3. ^ Nemec, p. 134.
  4. ^

See also


  • Broughton, Howard (1939) Fred Goldsmith Invented The Curve Ball (Assistant Sports Editor), The London Free Press, June 21, 1939.
  • Nemec, David (2004) Great Baseball Feats, Facts, & Firsts (2004), Signet Books, New York.
  • Stern, Bill (1949) Bill Stern's Favourite Baseball Stories, Blue Ribbon Books, Garden City, New York.

External links



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