Glass, Tom

Position: Relief pitcher
Birthplace: Greensboro

First, Middle Names: Thomas Joseph

Date of Birth:  April 29, 1898 Date and Place of Death: Dec. 15, 1981, Greensboro
Burial: Moriah Methodist Church Cemetery, Greensboro, NC

High School: South Buffalo School, Guilford County, NC
College: Did Not Attend

Bats: R             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-3, 170
Debut Year: 1925       Final Year: 1925          Years Played: 1
Team and Year: Philadelphia Athletics, 1925

 Career Summary
G         W        L          Sv        ERA     IP         SO       WAR
2          1          0          0          5.40     5.0       2          -0.1

Tom Glass was in the major leagues for only four days. He pitched five innings in two games, winning one of them thanks to one of the greatest late-inning comebacks in baseball history.

Connie Mack, manager and part owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, bought Glass from the Canners of Cambridge, Maryland, in the Eastern Shore League in September 1924. Though the Class D team played at the lowest level of the minor leagues, the youngster had won 31 games in two seasons. Glass reported to Philadelphia the following year and joined a talented group of A’s rookies that included Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane.[1] In his debut on June 12 in the A’s Shibe Park, Glass took the mound in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox with his team already down 13-0. He gave up a run on a couple of hits in the 15-1 loss.

Mack called on him again three days later against the Cleveland Indians. He entered the game in the sixth in a little better shape – the A’s were down just 12-2. He yielded three more runs, only one was earned, in his three innings of work, but this time the Athletics didn’t roll over. They scored a run in sixth and the seventh and 13 in the eighth. Glass got the win in the 17-15 victory that Baseball Roundtable, a highly respected website, considers the greatest late-inning comeback. The outburst in the eighth included seven singles, a triple, a home run and three walks. Ten different players crossed the plate and in one stretch, ten straight batters reached base.[I]

Mack apparently wasn’t impressed because he released Glass a week later.[2] His major-league career over almost as soon as it started, the 27-year-old returned home to Guilford County, North Carolina.[II]

Glass was born there in 1898. He was among the 10 children that David and Mary Magnolia, known as Maggie, would raise on their farm along South Buffalo Creek northeast of Greensboro. He attended South Buffalo School and played for local semipro teams after graduating around 1916.[3]

Before joining the Canners, Glass pitched professionally for Reidsville, North Carolina, in the Bi-State League and for the Newark, New Jersey, Bears, in the International League. His control and Popeye forearms developed from years on the farm set him apart. “Glass has hams on the end of his arms like a steam shovel’s scoops. He could make a living dredging for oysters  any time he quit baseball,” a Newark newspaper reporter noted. “But most rooks are (as) wild as Barnum’s alleged wild man from Borneo. This fellow is as accurate as the pitching needle on a sewing machine. You never saw better control.”[III]

After his release from the Athletics, Glass got married and eventually moved to Greensboro where he worked as a carpenter and house painter. His wife, Pearl, died in 1964. He died in 1981. They apparently had no children.

Footnotes
[1]Lefty Grove was the dominant pitcher of his era. He won 300 games in a 17-year career and is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Catcher Mickey Cochrane played 13 years, won two Most-Valuable Player Awards and ended with a .320 average. He, too, is in the Hall of Fame.

[2] Along with Tom Glass, Connie Mack released a catcher named, according to the newspapers at the time, James Fox. Glass’ career was over, but Jimmie Foxx came back in 1926 and would become one of baseball’s most-feared sluggers. Double X would play 20 years and win three Most-Valuable Player Awards, two batting titles and a Triple Crown. He’s enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
[3] South Buffalo School opened in 1902 on the site of Gillespie Park Elementary School in Guilford County. It accommodated about 40 students. A larger building was built in 1916. The current building was completed in 1929.

References
[I] “
Tom Glass’ Remarkable (and only) Win …. and a Look at Some of MLB’s “Backs-Against-The-Wall” Comebacks.” Baseball Roundtable.com., March 6, 2021. http://www.baseballroundtable.com/tom-glass-remarkable-and-only-win-and-a-look-at-some-of-mlbs-back-against-the-wall-comebacks/.
[II] Bevis, Charlie. “Tom Glass.” Society of American Baseball Research. https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/tom-glass/.
[III] “Tom Glass Makes ‘Em Sit Up and Take Notice.” Reidsville (NC) Review. April 16, 1923.