Candy Cummings

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 is widely credited with inventing the curveball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

Candy Cummings
Candy Cummings 1872
Cummings in 1872
Born: October 18, 1848
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
MLB statistics
Win–loss record145–94
Earned run average2.49
  National Association of Base Ball Players
Excelsior of Brooklyn (1866–1867)
Star of Brooklyn (1868–1871)
  League Player
New York Mutuals (1872)
Baltimore Canaries (1873)
Philadelphia White Stockings (1874)
Hartford Dark Blues (18751876)
Cincinnati Reds (1877)
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
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life

Cummings was born in Ware, Massachusetts. He later said that he thought of the idea of the curveball when fooling around with clam shells as a teenager in Ware.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2] After the latter game, baseball writer Henry Chadwick commented on the skills of the young Cummings and his promising future with the Excelsior club.[3] Cummings played for the Excelsiors next season and continued as the main pitcher for the Stars of Brooklyn from 1868 to 1871.

His pitching skills led to his being called "Candy", a popular 19th century nickname for a man who was the best at his craft.[4]

Major league career

Cummings, who stood 5'9" and weighed 120 pounds,[5] compiled a 145-94 career record and 2.49 earned run average while playing for five different teams from 1872 to 1877. Between 1872 and 1875, Cummings pitched in the National Association (NA) with the New York Mutuals, Baltimore Canaries, Philadelphia White Stockings and Hartford Dark Blues. Cummings won between 28 and 35 games in each of his NA seasons.[6] He spent two seasons in the National League (NL), earning a 16-8 win-loss record with Hartford when the league began in 1876 and a 5-14 record with Cincinnati the next year.[5] 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.[7]

Cummings left the NL after pitching only 19 games with the Cincinnati Reds to become the President of the new International Association for Professional Base Ball Players.[2]

Invention of the curveball

Candy Cummings plaque
Plaque of Cummings at the Baseball Hall of Fame

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.[8] It was not until the Stars acquired catcher Nat Hicks that Cummings was able to use his curveball. Most catchers of his era stood 20 to 25 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.[8] The introduction of the curveball radically changed pitching, and also changed the way catchers fielded their position.[8]

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.[2] 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 was 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 it in the Brooklyn Eagle on August 17, 1870.[2] According to a 2002 article by ESPN's Steve Wulf, Cummings was "fairly well-connected" in baseball, as evidenced by his position with the International Association. Baseball leaders Chadwick, Harry Wright and Albert Spalding supported Cummings' contention.[1]

Later life

After baseball, Cummings received a small royalty from the invention of a railway coupling device. He owned a paint and wallpaper shop in Athol, Massachusetts.[1] Cummings died in Toledo, Ohio.[9] He is buried at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Ware, Massachusetts.[10] He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Wulf, Steve. "Ball Breaker". ESPN The Magazine. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Charlton's Baseball Chronology – 1866 Archived 2011-06-04 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "Cummings, Candy". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Gold, Eddie (February 21, 1981). "Candy Got the Credit". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  6. ^ "Candy Cummings Statistics". Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  7. ^ Nemec, David (2004). Great Baseball Feats, Facts, & Firsts (2004), Signet Books, New York, p. 134.
  8. ^ a b c Morris, Peter (2010). Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero. Government Institutes. p. 42. ISBN 1-56663-870-4. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Cemeteries". Town of Ware, Massachusetts. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.

External links

1870 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1870 throughout the world.

1872 New York Mutuals season

The New York Mutuals baseball team finished third in the National Association in 1872 with a record of 34-20.

1875 Hartford Dark Blues season

In their second season in the National Association, the 1875 Hartford Dark Blues finished in third place. They were managed by starting third baseman Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson.

The Dark Blues, with future Hall of Famers Candy Cummings and Tommy Bond, had the best pitching staff in baseball. Cummings won 35 games, and the 19-year-old Bond finished second in league ERA at 1.56.

Following the season, they were one of the NA teams chosen to join the new National League.

1876 Hartford Dark Blues season

The Hartford Dark Blues joined the new National League for its first season in 1876, and team owner Morgan Bulkeley was the first National League president. They finished the season in third place.

1877 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1877 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth and last in the National League with a record of 15–42, 25½ games behind the Boston Red Caps.

Baltimore Canaries

The Baltimore Canaries were a professional baseball club in the National Association from 1872 to 1874.

Bases on balls per nine innings pitched

In baseball statistics, bases on balls per nine innings pitched (BB/9IP or BB/9) or walks per nine innings (denoted by W/9) is the average number of bases on balls, (or walks) given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by multiplying the number of bases on balls allowed by nine, and dividing by the number of innings pitched. It is a measure of the bases on balls ability of a pitcher.

Billy McLean (umpire)

William H. McLean (December 3, 1835 – February 3, 1927) was an English professional baseball umpire born in Preston, Lancashire. He umpired games in both the National Association from 1872 until 1875, then the National League when the Association folded. In total, he was an umpire for 435 games during his 14-season career that lasted from 1872 until 1890.McLean was the umpire in the first official National League game, played at the Jefferson Street Grounds in Philadelphia on April 22, 1876.August 20, 1874, McLean alleged that some of the Philadelphia Whites had fixed a game with the Chicago White Stockings. John Radcliffe of Philadelphia had offered him $175 in exchange for favoring Chicago, and had implicated teammates Bill Craver, Candy Cummings, Nat Hicks, and Denny Mack, the manager. The Philadelphia ballclub moved against Radcliffe alone and expelled him but the decision was overturned before the next season, on Radcliffe's appeal to the Association.

McLean called three no-hitters during his career: Hugh Daily's on September 13, 1883, Larry Corcoran's on June 27, 1884, and Pud Galvin's on August 4, 1884. McLean died at age 91 in Philadelphia, and is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania.

Candy (name)

Candy is a surname, given name, nickname or stage name. Notable people with the name include:


Charles Candy (1832–1910), Union officer in the American Civil War

Christian and Nick Candy, property developers

Don Candy (born 1929), Australian tennis player

Henry Candy (born 1944), British racehorse trainer

John Candy (1950–1994), Canadian comedic actor

Brooke Candy (born 1989), American rapperGiven name, nickname or stage name:

Candy, a slave accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials

Candy Atherton (born 1955), British journalist and former Member of Parliament

Candy Barr (1935–2005), American stripper, exotic dancer and model

Candy Broad (born 1956), Australian politician

Candy Candido (1913–1999), American radio performer, bass player and voice actor

Candy Clark (born 1947), American actress

Candy Crowley (born 1948), CNN television anchor and chief political correspondent

Candy Cummings (1848–1924), American baseball player credited with inventing the curve ball

Candy Darling (1944–1974), American transsexual actress

Candy Devine (born 1956), American actress

Candy Dulfer (born 1969), Dutch jazz saxophonist

Candy Jones (1925–1990), born Jessica Arline Wilcox, American fashion model, writer and radio talk show hostess

Candy Hsu (born 1998), Taiwanese singer-songwriter

Candy Lo (born 1974), Canto-rock singer-songwriter and actress from Hong Kong

Candy Maldonado (born 1960), former Major League Baseball player, baseball commentator

Candy Nelson (1849–1910), early Major League Baseball player

Candy Reynolds (born 1955), American former tennis player

Candy Spelling (born 1945), American author and socialite, widow of film and television producer Aaron Spelling

Ray Candy (1951–1994), American professional wrestler

Emily Zheng (born 1993), also known as Candy, Taiwanese actress, member of BlackieFictional characters:

Candy Kong, in the Donkey Kong video game series

Candy Southern, in the Marvel Comics universe

DJ Candy, in the MySims video game series

Etta Candy, in the DC Comics Wonder Woman series

Candy, in John Steinbeck's 1937 novel Of Mice and Men

Candy, in the TV series Dave the Barbarian

Candy, in the anime series Smile PreCure!

Candy, the title character of Candy Candy, a 1976 Japanese shojo manga, anime and novel series

Candy Caramella, in the TV series Space Goofs

Candy Chu, one of the characters of Gravity Falls

Candy Smiles, in the TV series Cory in the House

Candice White Andley, aka Candy, the main character of the Candy Candy franchise

Cincinnati Reds (1876–1879) all-time roster

The following is a list of players and who appeared in at least one game for the Cincinnati Reds franchise, which played in the National League from 1876–1879. For players from the current Cincinnati Reds, see Cincinnati Reds all-time roster.


In baseball, the curveball is a type of pitch thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball, causing it to dive as it approaches the plate. Varieties of curveball include the 12-6 curveball and the knuckle curve. Its close relatives are the slider and the slurve. The "curve" of the ball varies from pitcher to pitcher.

The expression "to throw a curveball" essentially translate to introducing a significant deviation to a preceding concept.

Excelsior of Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Excelsiors were an amateur baseball team that played in Brooklyn, New York. Formed in 1854, the Excelsior ballclub featured stars such as Jim Creighton, Asa Brainard, and Candy Cummings.

The team is known for originating the "Brooklyn-style" baseball cap, precursor to the modern cap. They also were one of the first baseball clubs to undertake a long-distance tour to compete outside their home region.

Fred Goldsmith (baseball)

Fredrick Elroy Goldsmith (May 15, 1856 – March 28, 1939) was a right-handed pitcher in 19th-century professional baseball in both the U.S. and Canada. In his prime, Goldsmith was six-foot-one-inch tall and weighed 195 pounds.

Hartford Dark Blues

The Hartford Dark Blues were a 19th-century baseball team. The team was based in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hartford Dark Blues all-time roster

The Hartford Dark Blues were a Major League Baseball club in the 1870s, based in Hartford, Connecticut for three seasons and in Brooklyn, New York for one. Hartford was a member of the National Association (NA), 1874–1875 and a founding member of the National League (NL) in 1876, when it played home games at the Hartford Ball Club Grounds. During 1877 the team played home games at the Union Grounds in Brooklyn and was sometimes called the Brooklyn Hartfords.The team's owner, Morgan Bulkeley, who later became the first president of the NL in 1876, established the franchise in 1874; he gave the on-field captain duties to Lip Pike, who was also the starting center fielder. Among the other players signed by Hartford were pitcher Cherokee Fisher, who had led the NA in earned run average the two previous seasons, second baseman Bob Addy, and Scott Hastings.After placing seventh among the league's eight teams, the team's roster was purged and captain duties were handed over to third baseman Bob Ferguson, who stayed in the role for the remaining three seasons of the franchise's existence. The change in personnel, which included the pitching additions of future Hall of Famer Candy Cummings and Tommy Bond, improved the team's results. With the team's pitching rotation stable, and the hitting of Tom Carey, Tom York, Dick Higham, and Jack Burdock, the franchise enjoyed second-place finishes in 1875 and 1876.Following the departure of their pitching stars, Cummings and Bond, the team had to rely on Terry Larkin in 1877, who shouldered most of the pitching duties. The Dark Blues finished in third place, despite the hitting of John Cassidy, who batted .378. When Bulkeley moved his team to Brooklyn in 1877, he expected that he would make a better profit than he had in Hartford. The larger population of Brooklyn did not, however, respond in kind, and the Hartfords' fan base did not increase. He became disenchanted with his involvement in baseball, and with his interest in running the day-to-day operations of the team. Because of this and the lack of fan support, the team disbanded after the 1877 season.

Nat Hicks

Nathaniel Woodhull "Nat" Hicks (April 19, 1845 – April 21, 1907) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball for six seasons, two in the National League. Hicks was one of the first catchers to stand directly behind the batter, which allowed future Hall of Fame pitcher, Candy Cummings to develop the first curveball used in baseball. A popular and highly regarded player during his time in baseball, but injuries sustained over the course of his career cut his playing time short.

New York Mutuals all-time roster

The New York Mutuals baseball club, established 1859, played five seasons in the National Association, 1871–1875, and one in the National League, 1876. Here is a list of all their players in regular season games beginning 1871.

† Bold names identify members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

William Cummings

William Cummings may refer to:

William Cummings (Australian politician) (1803–1878), New South Wales politician

William Hayman Cummings (1831–1915), English musician

Candy Cummings (William Arthur Cummings, 1848–1924), U.S. baseball player

William Cummings (athlete) (1858–1919), Scottish athlete

William B. Cummings, Fire Chief of Atlanta, 1906–1915

William Cummings (rugby union) (1889–1955), New Zealand rugby union player

William Thomas Cummings (1903–1945), Maryknoll mission priest and U.S. military chaplain

William James Cummings, elected in the Saskatchewan general election, 1921

Worcester, Massachusetts firsts

Below is a list of events that occurred first in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Veterans Committee
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
Executives /

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