SABR

Tom Glass

This article was written by Charlie Bevis.

Appearing in just two games in 1925 with the Philadelphia Athletics, pitcher Tom Glass had a brief major league career, compiling a 1-0 won-loss record in five innings pitched. His lone victory, though, occurred in unusual circumstances.

Glass left the mound in the eighth inning of his second and what would be his last major league game on June 15, 1925, with the Athletics losing 15-4. Little did Glass suspect that he’d leave Shibe Park that afternoon with a victory under his belt. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Philadelphia rallied for 13 runs, a record-tying comeback, to defeat Cleveland 17-15, thus presenting Glass with his sole major league victory.

Thomas Joseph Glass was born on April 29, 1898, in Greensboro, North Carolina, the fifth oldest of twelve surviving children of D.R. and Maggie Glass. The Glass family lived on a farm on Alamance Road in Gilmer Township, near Greensboro within Guilford County. Glass had seven brothers and four sisters, with ages that ranged from 10 years older than Glass to 15 years younger.

Rather tall at 6 feet 3 inches, Glass played semipro baseball before catching on with the Cambridge, Maryland, team in the Class D Eastern Shore League. Glass pitched well for Cambridge, posting a 15-5 record for the 1923 season and 16-6 during the 1924 season. By September 1924, Glass had attracted the attention of Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack, who acquired his services. In June 1925, Mack added Glass to the Philadelphia roster to augment a large number of first-year players that year, including future Hall of Fame players Lefty Grove and Mickey Cochrane.

In his major league debut on June 12, 1925, Glass mopped up the last two innings of Philadelphia’s 15-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox, yielding two hits and one run. Three days later, on June 15 against Cleveland, Glass relieved in the sixth inning of another blowout and yielded seven hits and three runs over three innings. Headed into the bottom of the seventh inning in the June 15 game, Philadelphia was losing by 12 runs, down 15-3. After Philadelphia scored one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Glass held Cleveland scoreless in the top of the eighth inning, he probably expected to plug his way through the ninth inning and head home.

The bottom of that eighth inning started innocently enough as Chick Galloway walked and Glass, batting himself with victory seemingly out of reach for the team, flied out to right field. Eight batters later, though, there was still only one out, as Philadelphia collected six hits and two walks off three Cleveland pitchers to engineer a rally. With a fourth Cleveland pitcher coming to the mound and Glass due up for his second at-bat of the inning, Sammy Hale pinch-hit for Glass and singled in another run. Four batters later, Al Simmons hit a three-run homer to put the Athletics ahead by two runs. The next batter ended the 13-run inning. Rube Walberg pitched the ninth inning to save the victory for Glass.

The 14 runs that Philadelphia scored in the seventh and eighth innings on June 15, 1925, to overtake their opponent’s 12-run lead tied a major league comeback-victory record that still stands today. According to the Complete Baseball Record Book published by The Sporting News, the Chicago White Sox in 1911 established the record for “biggest run deficit overcome to win game.” The record was recently tied in 2001 by Cleveland in a game against Seattle.

The comeback victory attributed to Glass didn’t change Mack’s impression of his pitching performance. A week after that game, on June 22, Mack released Glass along with a first-year catcher whom the newspapers referred to as “James Fox.” While Glass never reappeared in the major leagues, the catcher returned to play first base and hit 534 home runs in a major league career where he was more commonly known as Jimmie Foxx.

Glass returned to Greensboro in his post-baseball days and made a living as a painter. The place where Glass grew up, Gilmer Township, is no longer on today’s maps, absorbed into the city of Greensboro. Glass apparently never married, leaving only younger siblings as heirs upon his death at age 83 on December 15, 1981, at Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro.

Sources

Bevis, Charlie. “Major League Short Stories,” Baseball Quarterly Reviews, Vol. 2 (1987).

Greensboro Daily News. “Ex-Major Leaguer Tommy Glass Dies,” December 16, 1981.

Lewis, Allen. “Baseball’s Most Incredible Rally,” Baseball Digest, October 1974.

Washington Post. “Athletics Score 13 Runs in One Inning, Beat Indians 17-15,” June 16, 1925.

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