Thomas Joseph Needham
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut May 12, 1904
- Final Game July 8, 1914
- Born April 17, 1879 in Ireland
- Died December 13, 1926 in Steubenville, OH USA
Tom "Deerfoot" Needham was a terrible hitter but managed to keep a major league job for 11 years. He was a catcher, and may have gotten the name "Deerfoot" because he stole far fewer bases than players at other positions, or because he usually stole bases at a faster rate than other catchers. For example, in 1907 when he stole four bases, that number was fewest among the regulars but far more than the zero stolen by the other main catcher Sam Brown.
According to Sporting Life of October 22, 1910, he started professionally in Coldwater, MI. Then he was with Tecumseh, Ashtabula, Dubois, Wheeling and Fort Wayne before making "a great reputation" in Altoona. For a while during his major league career he was Director of Public Safety in Steubenville, OH, and at one time also had a boxing club. He once remarked to Lew Moren's father, a riverboat captain, that he (Tom) had once been a mule driver near the captain's home.
In addition to his playing career, like many catchers of his time he also umpired a couple of National League games, one in 1904 and the other in 1907.
"Catcher Tom Needham is fast winning a place in the hearts of the Boston fans by his excellent work. He works hard and is remarkably steady for a new man in a big league." - Sporting Life, June 25, 1904
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