WAKE FOREST, N.C. – Tommy Byrne, who fulfilled a boyhood dream by pitching for the New York Yankees and won a game during the 1955 World Series, has died. He was 87.
Byrne, who served two terms as Wake Forest mayor, died Thursday, his son John said Saturday. Tommy Byrne had congestive heart failure and was in declining health the last six weeks. He was with his family when he died, his son added.
After two years at what was then Wake Forest College, Byrne signed with the Yankees in 1940. In his rookie year of 1943, he played in 11 games and had a 2-1 record.
Byrne eventually was traded to the St. Louis Browns and also pitched for the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Senators. He returned to the Yankees in 1954, and in 1955 pitched a complete-game victory in Game 2 of the World Series. But he was the loser in Game 7, 2-0 to Johnny Podres and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“His lifetime dream was to pitch for the New York Yankees,” said John Byrne, who is mayor of Fuquay-Varina. He said that dream grew from the fact that his father was born in Baltimore, home of Babe Ruth. The two eventually met when Ruth appeared at an old-timers game at Yankee Stadium.
“(Ruth) borrowed my father’s glove.”
The glove is in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, displayed as the last glove Ruth used at Yankee Stadium.