Candy Cummings is in the Baseball Hall of Fame not so much for what he statistically accomplished, but for being credited as the inventor of one of the most important tools in a pitcher’s arsenal, the curveball. As a teenage boy, he became fascinated at the way he could get clamshells to bend through the air when he threw them, leading him to study the physics involved in throwing a baseball. After six seasons playing for two teams in Brooklyn amateur leagues, he joined the National Association in 1872. He was already a member of the Hartford Dark Blues when they joined the National League in 1876, marking his first appearance on a Major League roster. He would only play one more season for the 1877 Cincinnati Reds, before leaving baseball.
Cummings career Major League win total of 21 games serves as proof that it is his role in the development of the curveball that secured his induction into the Hall.
July 17, 2011