James Alexander Tyng
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 155 lb.
- School Harvard University
- Debut September 23, 1879
- Final Game June 13, 1888
- Born March 27, 1856 in Philadelphia, PA USA
- Died October 30, 1931 in New York, NY USA
Jim Tyng was the first major league player to come out of Harvard University. He attended there in 1873-76.
He is quoted in an article titled The Early History of Curve Pitching as saying that on May 15, 1875, Princeton's "Mac" Mann threw solely curve balls against Tyng's Harvard team. The article says Mann had discovered the curve ball when Candy Cummings of the Philadelphia Athletics had played an exhibition game against Princeton in October 1874.
Tyng came to the majors first in 1879 with the Boston Red Caps where he appeared in 3 games as a pitcher, going 1-2 and hitting .357. He didn't come back until 1888 at age 32 with the 1888 Philadelphia Quakers, where he appeared in one game, pitching 4 innings. Although the concept of the "save" didn't exist then, in modern records he is credited with the save.
While at Harvard, Jim Tyng played catcher one day when Harry Wright and Deacon White came to see how Tyng used a catcher's mask made by Harvard teammate Fred Thayer. White thought the idea had merit and had an iron worker make a mask that was somewhat different, and White used it on occasion over the next several years.
There is some dispute as to who actually invented the catcher's mask - at times, each of Tyng, Thayer, and Fred Thatcher (a catcher at Harvard prior to Tyng) all claimed that theirs was the greatest contribution to the concept. Source: Harvard Magazine article "Home Plate Security". The article also says Tyng had a long career in insurance.
He also became a top golfer under the name James Tyng.