Clipping:Curve pitching; Cummings first exemplified

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Date Saturday, January 11, 1879
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Cummings, who was the first to exemplify the curved-line delivery, of late years has had a host of imitators, and during 1878 a pitcher without the “curve” was nowhere. Of course speed is the elementary power in a curved-line delivery, for without it you cannot produce the curve. The great difficulty in curve-pitching is to obtain the required command of the ball at the same time that you impart to it the rotary motion which produces the curved line. The pitcher who has the fastest delivery, and who, while giving the necessary rotary motion or “twist” to the ball to curve its line of delivery, can also command its direction, is the best pitcher necessarily. There are plenty of men who can throw in an underhand ball with the curved line, but there are few who can “place” the ball where they want under such circumstances. A great many curve-line pitcher do not know how they curve the ball–they know that it does curve sometimes, and does not at others. When they try to pitch straight, they are apt to drop the curve; and when they do get the curve on, they don’t pitch straight. Many pitchers who have gone into curved-line pitching hastily have lamed themselves so as to prevent their pitching a swift underhand ball at all. The reason is that they have strained previously unemployed muscles. It is like a man accustomed to ride downtown every day starting out to walk fifty miles in a day. To get into curve-pitching one must practice it by degrees. First get the speed, then the twist, and then practice for command of the ball. First get the speed, then the twist, and then practice for command of the ball.

Source New York Clipper
Submitted by Richard Hershberger
Origin Initial Hershberger Clippings

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