Tom Hess

From BR Bullpen

Thomas Joseph Hess
(born Thomas Joseph Heslin)

  • Bats Unknown, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 157

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Biographical Information[edit]

"It would be hard to name a greater favorite than is catcher Tommy Hess. Everyone has praise and lots of it for the clever backstop." - from Sporting Life of September 8, 1894

"Tommy Hess aside from his ability as a catcher in every sense of the word is one of the best hitters on the club. He can play any position on the infield, and play it well." - from Sporting Life of April 29, 1899

Tom Hess was said to be aged 16 when he made his major league debut in 1892, but he was probably a year and half older, although it is hard to know for sure as he gave various birth dates on documents he filled out during his lifetime. He played for the Baltimore Orioles, whose regular catcher was the 29-year-old Wilbert Robinson.

Tom had previously played in the minors for Albany at age 16. Later in 1898 he was said to be the comedian of his team, who knew "how to drive away a case of blues".

Sporting Life in 1916 reported that he enlisted "for overseas service" with a battalion in Hamilton, ON. According to the Utica Herald-Dispatch of January 5, 1918:

"Hess has been gassed, shell shocked and wounded severely on the right side, just above the hip. After going the round of . . .hospitals in a vain attempt to recover from his shrapnel wound, Hess was released . . . He was cited at the Battle of the Somme for unusual bravery. . . Tommy was a catcher popular with all the baseball bugs, game as they make 'em, and in the game for all he was worth."

Further Reading[edit]

  • Chuck Hildebrandt: "Sweet! 16-Year-Old Players in Major League History", Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 48, Nr. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 5-17.

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