Candy Cummings: The Life and Career of the Inventor of the Curveball

Stephen Katz

   One of the greatest pitchers of his era, William Arthur “Candy” Cummings was born in 1848, when baseball was in its infancy. In the 1870s, Candy’s invention, the curveball, played a transformative role and earned him a place in the Hall of Fame. Drawing on extensive research, this first full-length biography traces Candy’s New England heritage and chronicles his rise to the top, from pitching for amateur teams in mid–1860s Brooklyn to playing in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players—the first major league—and then the newly-formed National League. A critical examination of the evidence and competing claims reveals that Cummings was, indeed, the originator of the curveball.