| December 20, 2007, Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States|
Wake Forest University, Balti City College
Tommy Byrne (baseball) Wikipedia
Thomas Joseph Byrne (December 31, 1919 – December 20, 2007) was an American left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for four American League teams from 1943 through 1957, primarily the New York Yankees. He also played for the St. Louis Browns (1951–52), Chicago White Sox (1953) and Washington Senators (1953). Byrne batted and threw left-handed.
Byrne attended the Baltimore City College high school and Wake Forest College.
Byrne was a hard-thrower pitcher who never hesitated to pitch inside, but he had really struggled with his control most of his career, earning him the nickname "Wild Man". After making his debut on April 27, 1943, he had four years with more than 130 innings pitched and more than 6 walks per nine innings, a record later tied by Nolan Ryan. Byrne led the league in hit batsmen five times and in walks three times. Despite his wildness, he won 15 games twice (1949–50) and enjoyed a career season in 1955 with a 16-5 record and a 3.15 ERA, and led the league in winning percentage (.762).
But Byrne was a dangerous hitter. He hit well enough during his career to be called on by his managers for pinch-hitting duties. He batted .238 in his career (143-for-601) with 14 home runs and 98 RBI in 377 games, including two grand slams and 80 pinch hits.
In a 13-year career, Byrne posted an 85-69 record with a 4.11 ERA in 1362 innings. He had a disappointing 0.74 strikeout-to-walk ratio (766-to-1037). In four World Series, he went 2-2 with 11 strikeouts and a 2.53 ERA in 21.1 innings. He made the American League All-Star team in 1950. He played his final regular-season game on September 21, 1957 before ending his career in the World Series defeat to the Milwaukee Braves.
After the conclusion of his baseball career, Byrne returned to Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he had attended college (although the college had since relocated to Winston-Salem). Prior to the 1963 season, he joined the New York Mets organization as a minor league scout. When Clyde McCullough was promoted to the Mets as a coach, Byrne took over the manager's job for the Raleigh Mets of the Carolina League. He managed the team from July 29 through the end of the season.
Byrne later became mayor of Wake Forest from 1973 through 1987. . He died on December 20, 2007 at age 87 in Wake Forest, North Carolina, eleven days before his 88th birthday.