Primary Position: First base
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
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.