Brown: Western Massachusetts Baseball Hall to honor Candy Cummings

From Garry Brown at the Springfield Republican on January 3, 2019:

At every level, baseball players know the importance of the curveball.

Pitchers love to throw it, hitters hate to swing at it. No question about it, the curve and all its variations have a profound effect on how the game is played.

Over the years, the curveball has been known by many nicknames: Bender, hook, roundhouse, Uncle Charley, yellow hammer, yakker. Because catchers generally put down two fingers when signalling for a curve, it’s also known as the deuce, or No. 2.

This revered pitch led to a famous line in baseball lore, in a letter from a rookie player to his mother: “I’m coming home, Ma, they’re starting to curve ’em.”

So who dreamed up this pitch in the first place? Well, although there has been some debate about it, it’s generally agreed that one William Arthur “Candy” Cummings of Ware invented the curveball, and perfected it somewhere around 1866.

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Originally published: January 3, 2019. Last Updated: January 3, 2019.