Tommy de la Cruz
Tomás de la Cruz Rivero
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 168 lb.
- Debut April 20, 1944
- Final Game September 26, 1944
- Born September 18, 1911 in Marianao, Cuba
- Died September 6, 1958 in Havana, Cuba
Cuban native Tommy de la Cruz spent nine seasons in professional baseball from 1936 to 1944. The right-hander spent the 1944 season in the major leagues with the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in 34 games, pitched 191 1/3 innings with a 3.25 ERA and built a 9-9 record. He logged the most decisions by a Cuban pitcher between the days of Dolf Luque and the arrival of Connie Marrero in the 1950s.
Tommy spent eight seasons in the minor leagues, coming up with a 95-73 record while pitching 1,452 innings in 286 games. He had five double-digit win seasons while in the minor leagues, with his best year appearing to be in 1943 with the International League Syracuse Chiefs when he went 21-11 with a 1.19 ERA in 36 appearances.
Tommy was of African-Cuban background but his skin-tone was pale enough that he could pass off as "white" in the days of segregation; the fact that he played during the acute player shortage caused by World War II helped to ground that fiction.