Tom Barlow

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Tom Barlow.jpg

Thomas H. Barlow

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Unknown
  • Height Unknown, Weight Unknown

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Biographical Information[edit]

While catching, Tom Barlow is believed to have sustained an injury from a pitched ball. The attending doctor injected him with morphine back at his hotel. He claims this resulted in his eventual addiction (which he accounts as costing him about $8.00 per day). It is this incident that Barlow is quoted as resulting in his leaving baseball and eventual degeneracy.

Barlow is credited by some sources as the most likely creator of the bunt, which was popularized by teammate Dickey Pearce. This was done with the Brooklyn Atlantics of the National Association in 1872. The bunt was invented as a means to produce fair-foul hits, but was retained in the game even after the foul ball rule was modified in 1877, ending the existence of the fair-foul hit. Barlow, who was mostly a catcher in 1872 and 1873, became a shortstop in 1874 and led the league in stolen bases that year. In 1875, he umpired a couple of games.

It is not clear what happened to him after baseball. He last appears in the 1880 Census, listed as a ballplayer and was supposedly dead by 1888, but no definitive proof has been found.

Further Reading[edit]

  • "Thomas Barlow", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, January/February 2020, p. 3.
  • Robert H. Schaefer: "Bunts and Fair-Foul Hits: Who Was First? Dickey Pearce or Tommy Barlow?", The National Pastime, SABR, Number 20 (2000), pp. 8-9.

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