|Tommy Byrne, former Yankees pitcher, dies at 87|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 22 December 2007 11:21|
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 surrounded by his family and priest 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 had an 11-2 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 1955, when he pitched a complete-game victory in Game 2 of the World Series, but was the loser in Game 7 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.
``He borrowed my father's glove,'' John Byrne said. ``Daddy said he could have had anything he had in his locker.''
The glove is in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, displayed as the last glove Ruth used at Yankee Stadium.
Byrne served eight years as a town commissioner starting in 1968 and became mayor in 1975. He served a second term as mayor in the 1980s but failed in at least three attempts to become a county commissioner.
``My father always believed in helping people and serving,'' John Byrne said. ``In growing up, I got to see him do a lot of good things. You have role models as you pass through life. He was certainly one of mine.''
Besides John Byrne and his wife, Tommy Byrne is survived by two other sons, Thomas J. Byrne Jr. and Charles P. Byrne; a daughter, Susan Byrne Gantt; 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
A vigil service and rosary are scheduled for Wednesday night, with a funeral Mass on Thursday.