Next up in my 1976 celebration of Major League baseball’s 100th year of existence is the supposed “inventor” of the curve ball, Candy Cummings.
Take a look:
Cummings parlayed that claim to the famous pitch all the way to a Hall
of Fame induction in 1939, as baseball wanted to recognize the man who
brought the widely used off-speed pitch to the game.
But it’s not like the man didn’t produce on the field.
During his National Association career between 1972 and 1975 he posted a
combined 134-80 record, pitching for a different team every year: New
York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Hartford.
Once the Major’s began play in 1876 he posted a 16-8 record for Hartford
with a sparkling 1.67 earned run average over 24 starts, all of them
complete games with five shutouts.
But the 1877 season would see Cummings drop to a 5-14 record while
pitching for Cincinnati, with his ERA ballooning to 4.34, which would be
his last in the big leagues.
Overall he finished with a 145 and 94 record, with a 2.42 ERA over 242
games, but again, it was his claim of figuring out how to make the ball
curve towards the plate that would have him remembered almost a century
and a half later.