Tom Alston Breaks the Color Barrier With the St. Louis Cardinals (April 13, 1954)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS:
Inducted into the North Carolina A&T Sports Hall of Fame in 1972
Thomas Edison Alston, who was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, made his major-league debut as the St. Louis Cardinals’ first Black player on April 13, 1954. The team paid the Pacific Coast League’s San Diego Padres more than $100,000, plus four players, for his contract.
As more teams integrated, there was pressure on the remaining teams to sign Black players. Cardinals president August A. Busch Jr., who owned Anheuser-Busch and purchased the team in 1953, hired Negro Leagues veteran Quincy Trouppe as a scout and signed several Black players during the first year of the company’s ownership.
Alston, who struggled with mental health issues throughout his baseball career, played until 1957. He was hospitalized for several years after he retired from the game.