- Series: 1880s: Loving Paupers
- City: Baltimore
- Team: Orioles
- League: American Association
Thomas Joseph Tucker (1863-1935) played first base for six MLB teams from 1887 through the 1899 season. He learned the game in and around his native Holyoke, Massachusetts, coming up in the era when gloves were small to nonexistent. At age 20 he signed on with his local minor league club and stayed in New England until the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles gave him his shot in the big leagues. He was a regular immediately and stayed three years, during which Tommy batted .275 and .287 before finishing with a spectacular .372 in 1889. That led to a job with the Beaneaters in Boston where he proved a worthy successor to famed Dan Brouthers. In his seven full seasons in Boston, Tucker never again attained such a lofty average, but he was a consistently good solid hitter, exceeding .300 three times. In ‘97, the Senators purchased Tucker from the Beaneaters for $2,000 and he rewarded the club with a .338 average in his lone season in the Capital City. He split the ‘98 campaign between Brooklyn and St. Louis before closing out his career in the majors with the Cleveland Spiders. Despite tailing off at the plate after leaving Washington, the switch-hitting righty compiled a very fine .290 average overall.
Tucker was known as a tough & rowdy competitor, earning him colorful nicknames such as Noisy and Foghorn Tom.
- Tucker’s career-year in 1889 was remarkable for at least two reasons: He led the league that season and his .372 average still stands as the highest ever achieved by a switch-hitter
- Tommy tied a major league record on July 22, 1893 with four doubles and also had a perfect 6-for-6 game in 1897
- Tommy was hit-by-pitch more often than all but two players. Only Hughie Jennings and Craig Biggio exceeded his 272 career plunks
- After retiring from the majors, Tucker returned to New England and played for three minor league clubs through the 1902 season
- Bill James ranked Tucker as the 93rd greatest 1st baseman of all-time in 2001; Jay Jaffe's JAWS system ranks him today as the 108th best all-time (betwixt Ripper Collins and Charlie Hickman)