James Creighton

In baseball’s early days, when pitchers were required to toss the ball underhand and stiff-armed (with the pitching wrist facing up), Creighton puzzled batters with the speed of his delivery, gained by a sly snap of the wrist. Believed to be baseball’s first professional player and acclaimed in his obituary as “one of the best players in the Union,” he starred for two Brooklyn clubs, Star and Excelsior, before his death at 21 of “an internal injury occasioned by strain while batting.”