Thomas Corwin Mays
Thomas Mays, who for the longest time was only listed as Mays, umpired one National Association game in 1871. The game was played on August 11th in Fort Wayne, IN and featured the Cleveland Forest Citys visiting the Fort Wayne Kekiongas. Unusually for the time, three umpires worked the game, because Frank Wolke was replaced after the 2nd inning by Mays.
At the time, Mays was working as editor of the Auburn Courier, and he had to leave the game himself in the 8th inning to catch a train back to his hometown of Auburn, IN, being replaced by Mort Dawson, who was President of the Fort Wayne club. It was also the only game as an umpire for Dawson.
Mays was a Civil War veteran, having served in the 65th Ohio infantry regiment, where he was seriously wounded, was discharged, but re-enlisted, serving until 1864. He moved to Upper Sandusky, OH and became editor of the local newspaper, the Wyandot Pioneer, in 1867. He was married that year, then moved to Fort Wayne in 1869 to become editor of the Fort Wayne Daily Democrat. He was named secretary of the Kekiongas baseball club in 1870, then moved to nearby Auburn where he was the founding editor of the Courier. He sold the paper in 1878 and became editor of the Toledo Morning Commercial, before moving to Arkansas in 1881, where he worked as editor of the Hot Springs Sentinel starting in 1883. In 1885, he was named Washington, DC correspondent of the Kansas City Times. His wife divorced him at that point, apparently unable to put up with his wandering ways.
In 1887, he became editor of the Benton Courier, then was elected mayor of Benton, AR in 1891, but even that did not settle him down as he soon moved out to become editor of yet another Arkansas paper, the Paragould Press. He remarried in 1893 and was named Arkansas' Clerk of the State Printing Board but was fired in 1895 for "drunkenness and general incompetency". He then worked for the Cotton Belt Railway, editing its corporate newsletter. He then started to organized exhibits promoting the state of Arkansas that would travel by rail to other parts of the country. He had a second messy divorce in 1899, then quit his work to return to newspaper editing with the Little Rock Advertiser. That gig ended because of ill health in 1903.
He moved to an old soldier's retirement home in Marion, IN, but that did not last either as he bought a ranch in South Dakota and moved there but died a year later, in 1906. His obituary concluded: "He was a writer of ability and but for some failures in his moral strength would have been more successful in his life's work."
- "1871 Umpire", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, January/February 2020, pp. 1-2.