Tommy Thevenow Early Baseball

Tommy Thevenow was born as Thomas Joseph Thevenow Jr. to Thomas and Lulu (Cheatham) in Madison, Indiana on September 6, 1903. He was one of five children. Tommy played baseball for his hometown team the Madison Monarchs and went to Centralia, Illinois and played in a semipro league for them. In 1923, he signed a contract to play with Joplin, which was in the Class C Western Association.

The story from here says that Cardinals manager, Branch Rickey, traveled to Joplin to see another player and fell in love with the slick fielding shortstop Tommy Thevenow. Rickey signed the 19 year old to a $4000 contract to play for the Cardinals organization.

In 1924, he played 140 games for Syracuse Stars in the Class AA International League. The Cardinals bought out his contract and on September 3, 1924, Thevenow was in the major leagues. He made his official debut on September 4th and finished the season with the Cardinals. He played in 23 games and batted ,202 on the year.

In 1926, he became a full time starter for the Cardinals at shortstop and was known as a great glove with not much bat. Rogers Hornsby said it was his preferred playmate up the middle.  On September 17,1926, he hit his first home run of his career facing Jack Knight of the Cincinnati Reds. It was an inside-the-park homer. five days later he hit another inside-the-park homer in a 15-2 rubbing of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In Thevenow’s career, he would not hit another home during the regular (3,347 at-bats). However, in the 1926 World Series against the Yankees in game two, he faced pitcher Sad Sam Jones and hit a ball to right field that Babe Ruth couldn’t handle and he raced around the bases for his third inside-the-park homer in 12 days.Box Score here. 

He hit .256 for the season and finished fourth in the Most Valuable Player voting. His teammate Bob O’Farrell won the award. Box Score here. The next season wasn’t as good as Tommy hit .194 in 59 games an had a slight rebound in 1928 to ,205. The Cardinals traded him to Philadelphia after the season for shortstop Heinie Sand and $10,000, 

He played his last game on October 2, 1930. After baseball, he went back to his hometown of Madison, Indiana and bought a grocery store. He and his wife operated it until his death on July 29, 1957 due to a cerebral hemorrhage (stroke) at the age of 53. 

Check out more St Louis Cardinals history here.