Tom Alston

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Thomas Edison Alston

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tom Alston was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, and after high school joined the Navy in Detroit, Michigan, on April 5, 1944 during World War II. He had boot camp at NTS Great Lakes, IL, and then was stationed at the Naval Station in Seattle. He served aboard the USS Spica, a cargo ship where he served as a landing boat operator, but never left the States. He was discharged on March 29, 1946, in Bainbridge, Maryland with a rating as a Coxswain.

Alston attended North Carolina A&T and got his degree in 1951. That year, he began playing with a "colored team", the Jacksonville Eagles. He signed with the Saskatchewan Rockets while they were training in Jacksonville for a tour of western Canada. While playing with them in 1952, he began playing in "organized ball" for the Porterville Comets in the Class C Southwest International League. When that team folded in August, he was claimed by the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League and remained there through the 1953 season when he was sold to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1954, Alston played for the Rochester Red Wings in the Class AAA International League and on April 13, 1954, made his major league debut with the Cardinals (becoming the first African-American to play for the team). As with some others, several years were taken off his age and he was reported to be born in 1930 and 1931. He split the 1955 and 1956 seasons between the Omaha Cardinals of the AAA American Association and St. Louis. In 1957, he stayed with St. Louis and then retired from playing. All told, he played in 91 major league games with the Cardinals, with the majority of his playing time coming in 1954.

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