Tom Alston Stats

Tom Alston was born on Sunday, January 31, 1926, in Greensboro, North Carolina. Alston was 28 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 13, 1954, with the St. Louis Cardinals. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Tom Alston baseball stats page.

"Thomas Edison Alston was a can't-miss prospect who somehow did. Lefty O'Doul , himself a career .349 hitter, called Alston "one of the greatest prospects I have ever seen." He was bright, hardworking, and eager to learn. He was a brilliant defensive first baseman and had good size and power. Just just never hit in the majors." - Author Larry Moffi and Jonathan Kronstadt in Crossing The Line: Black Major Leaguers, 1947-1959 (Larry Moffi & Jonathan Kronstadt, Bison Books Publishers, 12/01/2006, Page 108)
Tom Alston
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Birth Name:
Thomas Edison Alston
Nickname:
Tom
Born On:
01-31-1926  (Aquarius)
Place of Birth Data Born In:
Greensboro, North Carolina
Year of Death Data Died On:
12-30-1993 ( 500 Oldest Living )
Place of Death Data Died In:
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Cemetery:
New Goshen United Methodist Church Cemetery, Greensboro, North Carolina Click For Grave Photo
High School:
Dudley High School (Greensboro, NC)
College:
Batting Stances Chart Bats:
Left
Throwing Arms Chart Throws:
Right
Player Height Chart Height:
6-05
Player Weight Chart Weight:
210
First Game:
04-13-1954 (Age 28)
Last Game:
09-29-1957
Draft:
Not Applicable
Tom Alston

Tom Alston Pitching Stats

G GS GF W L PCT ERA CG SHO SV IP BFP H ER R HR BB IBB SO WP HB BK HLD
- - Did Not Pitch - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G GS GF W L PCT ERA CG SHO SV IP BFP H ER R HR BB IBB SO WP HB BK HLD
Tom Alston

Tom Alston Hitting Stats

G AB R H 2B 3B HR GRSL RBI BB IBB SO SH SF HBP GIDP AVG OBP SLG
1954 28 Cardinals 66 244 28 60 14 2 4 0 34 24 - 41 0 1 2 6 .246 .317 .369
1955 29 Cardinals 13 8 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .125 .125 .125
1956 30 Cardinals 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
1957 31 Cardinals 9 17 2 5 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 5 0 0 0 0 .294 .333 .353
G AB R H 2B 3B HR GRSL RBI BB IBB SO SH SF HBP GIDP AVG OBP SLG
4 Years 91 271 30 66 15 2 4 0 36 25 0 46 0 1 2 6 .244 .311 .358
Tom Alston

Tom Alston Fielding Stats

POS G GS OUTS TC TC/G CH PO A E DP PB CASB CACS FLD% RF
1954 Cardinals 1B 65 62 1,690 631 9.7 624 552 72 7 57 n/a n/a n/a .989 9.97
1955 Cardinals 1B 7 0 42 15 2.1 15 14 1 0 1 n/a n/a n/a 1.000 9.64
1956 Cardinals 1B 3 0 17 5 1.7 5 4 1 0 1 n/a n/a n/a 1.000 7.94
1957 Cardinals 1B 6 3 99 38 6.3 36 35 1 2 4 n/a n/a n/a .947 9.82
POS G GS OUTS TC TC/G CH PO A E DP PB CASB CACS FLD% RF
1B Totals 81 65 1,848 689 8.5 680 605 75 9 63 n/a n/a n/a .987 9.94
4 Years 81 65 1,848 689 8.5 680 605 75 9 63 n/a n/a n/a .987 9.94
Tom Alston

Tom Alston Miscellaneous Stats

SB CS SB% PH PR DH AB/HR AB/K AB/RBI K/BB K/9 BB/9
1954 Cardinals 3 5 .375 2 0 n/a 61.0 6.0 7.2 - - -
1955 Cardinals 0 0 .000 6 1 n/a 0.0 0.0 0.0 - - -
1956 Cardinals 0 0 .000 0 0 n/a 0.0 0.0 0.0 - - -
1957 Cardinals 0 0 .000 3 0 n/a 0.0 3.4 8.5 - - -
SB CS SB% PH PR DH AB/HR AB/K AB/RBI K/BB K/9 BB/9
4 Years 3 5 .375 11 1 n/a 67.8 5.9 7.5 - - -
Tom Alston

Tom Alston Miscellaneous Items of Interest

1954 St. Louis Cardinals 10 Undetermined - -
1955 St. Louis Cardinals 10 Undetermined - -
1956 St. Louis Cardinals 22 Undetermined - -
1957 St. Louis Cardinals 22 Undetermined - -


Tom Alston, when he made his Major League debut on April 13, 1954 at Sportsman's Park, became the first black player in St. Louis Cardinals history. Baseball Almanac likes to take a look "beyond the stats" and we hope you enjoy the following biographical information written by John Harris, The Sports PhD :

These Men Changed Baseball: Tom Alston

Moving from a small second baseman liked Curt Roberts , it is time to look at a very large first baseman named Tom Alston whose career is gutted by segregation and health issues. Most of the later integrators, minus Elston Howard , fall in the large category of prospects that did not pan out. Alston, though, was much too old to be a prospect, and his career is for that reason abbreviated.

Alston was born on January 31, 1926 in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1944, he joined the Navy then went to North Carolina A&T, an historically black college. He graduated in 1951, then he went to play for the Jacksonville Eagles, a black minor league team. From there he was signed by the Saskatchewan Rockets, then the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. In the offseason after the 1953 season, new St. Louis Cardinals owner Gussie Busch pushed for the team to be integrated, leading to an offseason trade for Alston (The trade included Dick Sisler , son of Hall of Famer George Sisler ). Alston, then, would come up on April 13, 1954 as the player who integrated the Cardinals

Tom Alston was 6? 5?, 210 lbs. Consider those numbers in the context of the 1950?s. He was a massive man for his day and age, and that alone would have qualified any white player as a top prospect. Alston, instead, got lost in the shuffle by white organizations who spent little time scouting black players. Alston slid through college and was picked by Jacksonville because the Negro Leagues had died by 1951. In this sort of world, we lose the first 3-5 years of his career.

Alston never adjusted well to the majors, for reasons we will discuss below. On April 13, 1954 , Alston played first base and hit 6th for the Cardinals. He committed an error on his very first play, dropping a foul pop hit by the Cubs leadoff hitter. That sort of mental error is I think emblematic of the problems that beset his entire career. In his rookie year, he hit .246 with 4 home runs, a far cry from his last year with the Padres when he hit just below .300 with 20 home runs. From that point on, Alston bounced between the majors and the minors, always doing better in AAA then failing in his call-ups. He played in 25 more games before bowing out of professional baseball in 1957. He died on December 30, 1993 in Winston-Salem and is buried in Greensboro.

What went wrong for this player who consistently put up such good minor league numbers? Neurasthenia. Neurasthenia is mental disorder triggered by stress or anxiety, and it is not primarily hereditary. The environment of discrimination in which Alston lived, then, is an important part is his eventual mental collapse. Alston was swamped by fatigue, began hearing voices, attempted suicide, and was institutionalized on multiple occasions after his career ended.

What else did Alston do? It is easy to dwell on the negative, so let’s remember the positive in closing. He is another part in the Canadian legacy of MLB integration, playing in Canada before he reached the big leagues. David Halberstam, in October 1964, credits him with an important role in acculturating Curt Flood to professional baseball in Flood’s first season with the Cardinals , 1957. He was also critical in Bob Gibson’s first year in the minors, with Omaha in 1957. Alston, at the end of his career, held his mental problems in check long enough to help the first great African-Americans to play for the Cardinals . Flood and Gibson ? Not a bad legacy for Tom Alston.

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Last-Modified: April 20, 2019 10:35 AM EST

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