Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Update On the California Spirit of the Times Article

An Update On the California Spirit of the Times & Underwriters Article
Carlos,Thanks for posting that nineteenth century pitching article on SABR-L. It confirms what I've always felt about the development of the curve-ball, and adds in a one-of-a-kind batter's perspective on other biographically significant pitching developments. The only thing it missed, in my opinion, was the contribution of George Bradley, 1875-1876. I believe Bradley gave the world the first big curve-ball, the first "yakker". I recall reading about some 1876 game where opposing players jumped out of the batter's box. The fans started hissing and either Jack Clapp or Bob Ferguson called time to explain to the fansthat the ball was indeed curving in the extreme.    I don't know where Cummings "clam-shell" story ever developed and I'm glad Murnane left it out of his narrative. It's possible Cummings clam-shell story didn't exist in 1887. Cumming's career is so lined with contract breaking and false promises to investors that it would not surprise me if his "clam shell" story is a total fabrication. Did the Cal. Spirit of the Times really credit the article to Murran? [Yes, and the Hop Bitters did come to California over the 1879-80 winter—cb] That would be Time Murnane, outfielder of the 1879 Rochester Hop Bitters, who added an "e" to the end of his surname in January (?) of 1887 and became a full-fledged baseball beat writer. I'm also glad Al Spalding is denigrated to having only "improved" the change up. His own recollections of his own career would have you believe he made the National League and that he quit pitching to run his baseball business. (In fact, he was worthless as a pitcher without a curve and without stellar defense behind him. He actually was Chicago's first-baseman in 1877 but was worthless as a batter too. Only then did he euthanize his baseball playing career.)I too am thrilled with the minor leagues. Your web-site is a lot of fun and belies the great amount of research you must have done yourself. My own web-site, under construction, will eventually discuss a number of minor league pennant races. allgamesbaseball.comThank you again,Frank Vaccaro


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