Teams: Boston Reds, 1884; Boston Beaneaters, 1885, 1892-1895; Philadelphia Quakers, 1886-1887; St. Louis Browns, 1888-1891; Brooklyn Bridegrooms, 1896
Manager: St. Louis Browns, 1890
Managerial Record: 11-11
Tommy McCarthy, along with Hugh
Duffy, comprised Boston's
As a big-league pitcher, Tommy McCarthy had an 0-7 career record. He played just nine full seasons in the majors and was never a league leader in a single batting or fielding department.
His only ostensible distinction was that he topped the American Association in stolen bases in 1890, a year when most of the loop’s better performers were participating in the Players League rebellion.
Yet Thomas Francis Michael McCarthy (1863-1922) was named to the Hall of Fame in 1946, long before many players who produced career statistical totals that were nearly double those that he had tallied.
Perhaps McCarthy’s most obvious attribute was that he was the other half of the Boston Beaneaters’ famous “Heavenly Twins” of the early 1890s. Splitting his playing time between right and left field, McCarthy was stationed beside center gardener Hugh Duffy.
The Irish duo swiftly became the darlings of Boston fans. Duffy was the better player, but McCarthy had his moments as well, though trickery rather than talent seems to have been his long suit.
McCarthy has been credited with developing the fake bunt and the outfield trap play. Reputedly, McCarthy’s penchant for snaring pop flies on the short bounce and then forcing runners trying to advance was instrumental in the creation of the modern infield fly rule.
McCarthy is the only participant in the ill-fated Union Association experiment in 1884 who is now enshrined in Cooperstown. A rookie at the time with the Boston Reds, he hit just .215 and was tagged with seven quick losses when tried as a hurler.
After his retirement as a player, McCarthy worked as a scout, a college coach, and, for one season, a minor-league manager. He operated a combination bowling alley/saloon in his hometown of Boston. Called “Duffy and McCarthy” to appeal to a clientele who remembered the “Heavenly Twins,” it closed its doors long before McCarthy’s death in 1922.
Here are Tommy McCarthy's major league totals:
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