Tommy Tatum

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tommy Tatum was born in Texas but grew up in Oklahoma. He hit over .300 with the Nashville Vols in 1940. He was hitting .341 in 1941 when the Brooklyn Dodgers purchased his contract. He got into 8 games with them that year. Most of his appearances in the field were in center field, owned at the time by Pete Reiser. The 1941 Dodgers won 100 games under manager Leo Durocher.

World War II interrupted his career and he served in the Army. He played some baseball in the army but also suffered an arm injury.

In 1946 he came back to the Dodger system, playing with the Montreal Royals and hitting .319. The following year, 1947 he opened the season with the Dodgers, witnessing Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier (he was in the on-deck circle when Robinson hit his first major league homer on April 18th), before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he got most of his major league at-bats. The young Ted Kluszewski made his major league debut with the Reds as well that year.

With the Reds, Tommy was one of four players who got a lot of playing time in center field. The others were Bert Haas, Clyde Vollmer and Frank Baumholtz (who was the regular right fielder but played some games in center also).

After his playing days Tommy managed the Oklahoma City Indians for several years.

He died in Oklahoma City, OK at the age of 70 in 1989.

He was the first of four players (through 2006) with the last name "Tatum" to play in the majors.

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