Teams: Brooklyn Excelsiors, 1866-1867; Stars of Brooklyn, 1868-1872; New York Mutuals, 1872; Lord Baltimores, 1873; Philadelphia Athletics, 1874; Hartford Dark Blues, 1875-1876; Cincinnati Reds, 1877
William Arthur Cummings (1848-1924) came by his nickname of Candy in the late 1860s. During that period, when Cummings was first gaining prominence as a pitcher, "candy" was a popular term for anything that was one of the best of its kind. Cummings was clearly that.
Pitching for the Excelsior club of Brooklyn, Candy regularly beat the best amateur teams of his day despite his unimposing physical dimensions. He stood but 5'9" and never weighed more than 120 pounds during his baseball career.
Cummings’s forte was a baffling curveball. Some historians believe he invented the pitch. Others think that at most he had a part in its evolution. Cummings was inducted into the Hall of Fame among the first batch of immortals in 1939.
Since there is little to cite in his major-league career -- he played just six seasons -- one must assume that the historians who deemed him the creator of the curveball held sway when the first Hall of Fame ballots were cast.
From the Excelsiors, Cummings moved to a team called the Stars of Brooklyn. He remained with them for four years and then joined the New York Mutuals of the National Association. "Revolving," or changing teams at will, was a common practice in the 1870s, and Cummings took full advantage of the privilege. In his six professional seasons he played in five different cities, allowing only
A stalwart hurler in the National Association, Cummings was nearly finished by the time the National League was formed in 1876. Although only age 28, he was forced to cede his title as
His experience in the
After leaving baseball, Cummings ran a paint and wallpaper business for many years. He moved to
Here are Candy Cummings' major league totals:
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