Thomas Everette Wright
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11½", Weight 180 lb.
- High School Shelby (NC) High School
- Debut September 15, 1948
- Final Game April 18, 1956
- Born September 22, 1923 in Rutherfordton, NC USA
- Died September 5, 2017 in Shelby, NC USA
Outfielder Tom Wright was signed as an amateur free agent by the Boston Red Sox before the 1942 season. The six-foot tall, eighteen-year-old spent his first pro season with the Danville-Schoolfield Leafs of the Bi-State League where he appeared in 107 games and hit .241 for the season. The young man then spent the next three years (1943-1945) in the United States Air Force in the South Pacific during World War II, serving two years in the Philippines.
Wright wasted no time in his quest to get to the majors. His first year back, in 1946, he was with the Durham Bulls of the Carolina League and led the league with a .380 batting average and 200 base hits along with 14 homers; he was chosen for the All-Star team. In 1947, with the New Orleans Pelicans, he didn't lead the league in any category but he did hit .325 with 14 homers and again made the All-Star team.
Tom was in a hurry to see the "Green Monster" so he hit .307 with 13 homers for the Louisville Colonels in 1948. He arrived at Fenway Park in September and in his first major league at-bat he tripled off the wall against the Chicago White Sox. He led the American Association with a .368 average in 1949 and also contributed 9 homers and went back for another quick look with Boston. He appeared at the plate five times, hit .250 and was invited back for the 1950 opening.
As good as Wright was going in 1950 he had a tough nut to crack: the Red Sox had an all-.300 hitting outfield of Dom DiMaggio (.328), Al Zarilla (.325) and Ted Williams (.317). Tom, in his first full year in the majors, was over .300 himself at .318 in 54 games in a back-up roll. In 1951, still as a backup, he appeared in only 28 games and fell to .222. On November 28th, the Red Sox traded him along with Les Moss to the St. Louis Browns for Gus Niarhos and Ken Wood. He appeared in 29 games for the Browns in 1952 and hit .242. On June 15th the Browns in turn traded Tom to the Chicago White Sox, along with Leo Thomas, for Willy Miranda and Al Zarilla.
Tom was with the White Sox for the remainder of 1952 and in 1953 he hit .250 in 77 games. Before the 1954 season, the White Sox sent Tom to the Washington Senators for Kite Thomas. He did do well for the Washington club, hitting only .246 in 76 games. They dropped him into the minors where he finished up his pro baseball career with the Birmingham Barons in 1957. Wright finished up his major league career with nine active seasons and a career .255 average. His minor league stats show he finished out there with a .312 average and 80 homers.
After baseball, Wright went home to Shelby, NC, which is just west of Charlotte, NC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He worked in the credit department of a clothing store for a few years and then with a polyester fibers company for 20 years before retiring as a production supervisor in 1982. He operated a small farm with a few beef cattle. He died in Shelby in 2017 at the age of 93.