Page:America's National Game (1911).djvu/516

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ing perpendicularly gave too much latitude to the umpires who did not agree in their interpretation of the term. The provision of 1878 induced pitchers to wear their belts abnormally high to elevate the "waist line" to the shoulder, and the rule of 1883, requiring delivery below the shoulder, was deceptive and differently construed by different umpires.

It was not, therefore, until the change of 1884, removing all bans and permitting the pitcher to use his own option as to his method of delivering the ball, that the need of further change was removed. I was present at the meeting of the League when this action was taken. I do not recall who presented the resolution removing all bans from the pitcher, but I remember that it followed much acrimonious discussion, and I was most heartily in favor of doing away with all restrictions.

The withdrawal of the old-time straight elbow restraint of course enabled pitchers to devote their talents to the development of new methods of delivery calculated to deceive the batsman, but long before this some efforts in that direction had been made.

Arthur Cummins, of Brooklyn, was the first pitcher of the old school that I ever saw pitch a curved ball. Bobby Matthews soon followed. This was in the early seventies. Both men were very light, spare fellows, with long, sinewy wrists, and having a peculiar wrist-joint motion with a certain way of holding the ball near the fingers' ends that enabled them to impart a rotary motion to the ball, followed by a noticeable outward curve.

In 1874 Tom Bond inaugurated the present style