Tom Alston – Cardinals First Black Player


Thomas Edison Alston (January 31, 1926 – December 30, 1993) was a Major League Baseball first baseman who played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1954 to 1957. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, he stood 6’5″ and weighed 210 lbs.

Busch Ok with Black Players

The Cardinals were a bit “skittish” according to Gussie Busch about putting a black player on the Cardinals. Busch went on to say he didn’t understand that because in the beer business they sell to everybody and urge the Cardinals to find a good black player.

Seven seasons after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers, the Cardinals became the 10th of the 16 major-league teams to integrate.


Tom Alston made his major league debut with the Cardinals on April 13, 1954 in Sportsman’s Park. That season he played in 66 games where he hit 3 home runs and batted .246 and drove in 34 runs.

He only played in 25 more games for the Cardinals but the color barrier in St. Louis had been broken.

Career Totals

Career totals for 91 games include a .244 batting average (66-for-271), 4 home runs, 36 RBI, 30 runs scored, and an on-base percentage of .311. In his 81 appearances at first base, he handled 680 out of 689 total chances successfully for a fielding percentage of .987, just slightly under the league average during his era.


Great article by RetroSimba about Tom Alston