Alston, Tom

Primary Position: First base
Birthplace: Greensboro

First, Last Names: Thomas Edison    

Date of Birth: Jan. 31, 1926   Date and Place of Death: Dec 30, 1993, Winston-Salem, NC
Burial: New Goshen United Methodist Church Cemetery, Greensboro

High School: Dudley High School, Greensboro
College: N.C. A&T State University, Greensboro

Bats: L             Throws: R        Height and Weight: 6-5, 210
Debut Year: 1954       Final Year: 1957          Years Played: 4
Team and Years: St. Louis Cardinals, 1954-57

Career Summary
G         AB       H         R          RBI      HR       BA.      OBP.    SLG.     WAR
91        271    66      30        36       4         .244     .311      .358     -0.1

Tom Alston’s story isn’t a happy one. He possessed a tormented soul. He heard voices that told him to slit his wrists and to set a church on fire. He was sent off to mental hospitals where electrodes were attached to his head. He couldn’t hold a job, never married. He lived in abject poverty until rescued by friends he didn’t know he had. And in the end, cancer got him.

This should be an inspiring story. Because Tom Alston was among the pioneers of baseball. He was the first black man from North Carolina to play in the major leagues, the first to don a uniform for the St. Louis Cardinals.

But, no, this is not a Jackie Robinson tale of courage and perseverance. Maybe it could have been had Alston stuck around the majors for a while. Yes, maybe Tom Alston’s story would be different if he could have only hit an inside fastball.

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