Sunday, April 8, 2012

Random Baseball Player: Candy Cummings

As the new baseball season is finally in full swing, I thought I'd take this opportunity to revisit my "random player" feature.

The curveball turns 145 this month. In April of 1867, the improbably named Candy Cummings threw the first curve in a game in Worcester, Massachusetts while playing for Brooklyn. Legend has it that as a young man he noticed he could make shells curve when he threw them and wondered if he could do the same thing to a baseball.

Other's credit Fred Goldsmith with inventing the curveball. He was the first to publicly demonstrate the pitch to a sportswriter in 1870.

Cummings is in the Hall of Fame. Goldsmith is not. As is the way of things, I would guess several people came up with curveballs on their own at about the same time, much like calculus. I would also imagine that the first few people to master it didn't go telling a lot of people about it in order to maintain their advantage, much like 15th century Europeans fishing the Grand Banks off the coast of North America. Cummings even admitted trying to keep it to himself.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.