October 18, 1848|
|Died: May 16, 1924
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 22, 1872 for the New York Mutuals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 18, 1877 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Earned run average||2.49|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
William Arthur "Candy" Cummings (October 18, 1848 – May 16, 1924) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a pitcher in the National Association and National League. Cummings was credited with inventing the curveball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
At the age of 17, Cummings made his professional baseball debut in the National Association of Base Ball Players with the Excelsior baseball club of Brooklyn. His first game with the team was on August 14, 1866 against the New York Mutuals. Ten days later he led his team to a 24-2 win against the Newark Eurekas. After the latter game baseball writer Henry Chadwick commented on the skills of the young Cummings and his promising future with the Excelsior club. He played for the Excelsiors next season and continued as the main pitcher for the Stars of Brooklyn from 1868 to 1871.
During a 6-year league 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.
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.
Invention of the Curveball 
Cummings is often credited with being the first pitcher to throw a curveball, reportedly in 1867 at Worcester, Massachusetts while playing for the Brooklyn Excelsiors; some sources say later with the Brooklyn Stars. It wasn't until the Stars acquired catcher, Nat Hicks, that Cummings was able to use his curveball. Hicks' pivotal role in the development of the curveball is seldom mentioned. Most catchers of his era stood twenty to twenty-five feet behind the batter, which made it impossible to field a curveball. It was Hicks' catching technique of standing directly behind the batter, that allowed Cummings to introduce his curveball. The introduction of the curveball radically changed pitching, and also changed the way catchers fielded their position.
Cummings said that he discovered the idea of the curveball while studying the movement sea shells made when thrown. After noticing this movement, he began trying to make a baseball move the same way, and thus created the new pitch. 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 claim inventing the curveball is New Haven, Connecticut-born Fred Goldsmith. Goldsmith is credited with the first publicly recorded demonstration of the pitch on August 16, 1870, at the Capitoline Grounds in Brooklyn, New York. Sportswriter Henry Chadwick covered that in the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, August 17, 1870.
- 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.
- Charlton's Baseball Chronology – 1866
- Nemec, p. 134.
- Morris, Peter (2010). Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero. Government Institutes. p. 42. ISBN 1-5666-3870-4. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
See also 
- Denny Mack - the Radcliffe affair
- 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.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Candy Cummings at the Baseball Hall of Fame
- Watching Clam Shell Sail Gave Gave First Curve Ball To Cummings; They Said It Couldn't Be Done, by Harry Grayson, May 28, 1943