Former NY Yankee pitcher Tommy Byrne dead at 87
He did two tours with the Casey Stengel Yankees starting in 1949. Casey never had a set rotation or lineup. Rather he was always moving pitchers around, if not from the starting rotation to the bullpen, or the Yankees to Kansas City, Stengel liked to match certain pitchers against certain AL teams. Pitchers Whitey Ford, Allie Reynolds, Vic Raschi and Eddie Lopat seeing usually the AL’s best other than NY. Guys like Byrne, Don Larsen, Art Ditmar and others facing the 2nd division. Still Tommy was a vital cog of 3 World Championship teams, appeared in 4 post seasons, won 85 games, and swung a pretty good bat for a pitcher. As seen by his lifetime Batting average of .238, .350 OBP and 8 career homeruns. RIP.
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (AP) — Tommy Byrne, who fulfilled a boyhood dream by pitching for the New York Yankees and won a game during the 1955 World Series, has died. He was 87.
Byrne, who served two terms as Wake Forest mayor, died Thursday, his son John said Saturday. Tommy Byrne had congestive heart failure and was in declining health the last six weeks. He was surrounded by his family and priest when he died, his son added.
After two years at what was then Wake Forest College, Byrne signed with the Yankees in 1940. In his rookie year of 1943, he played in 11 games and had a 2-1 record.
Byrne eventually was traded to the St. Louis Browns and also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Senators. He returned to the Yankees in 1954, and in 1955 pitched a complete-game victory in Game 2 of the World Series. But he was the loser in Game 7, 2-0 to Johnny Podres and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“His lifetime dream was to pitch for the New York Yankees,” said John Byrne, who is mayor of Fuquay-Varina. He said that dream grew from the fact that his father was born in Baltimore, home of Babe Ruth. The two eventually met when Ruth appeared at an old-timers game at Yankee Stadium.
“He borrowed my father’s glove,” John Byrne said. “Daddy said he could have had anything he had in his locker.”
The glove is in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, displayed as the last glove Ruth used at Yankee Stadium.
Byrne served eight years as a town commissioner starting in 1968 and became mayor in 1975. He served a second term as mayor in the 1980s but failed in at least three attempts to become a county commissioner.
“My father always believed in helping people and serving,” John Byrne said. “In growing up, I got to see him do a lot of good things. You have role models as you pass through life. He was certainly one of mine.”
Besides John Byrne and his wife, Tommy Byrne is survived by two other sons, Thomas J. Byrne Jr. and Charles P. Byrne; a daughter, Susan Byrne Gantt; 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
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