September 6, 1903|
|Died: July 27, 1957
|September 4, 1924, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1938, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Runs batted in||36|
Thomas Joseph Thevenow (September 6, 1903 in Madison, Indiana – July 29, 1957 in Madison, Indiana) was a professional baseball player who played shortstop in the Major Leagues from 1924 to 1938. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Bees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and St. Louis Cardinals during his career. Thevenow epitomized the good-fielding / weak-hitting shortstops that prevailed in the era, ending his career with a fielding percentage of .947, but a batting average of .248 while hitting only two home runs in his 15-year career. He hit two home runs in 1926, both inside-the-park home runs, and then never hit another home run in his next 12 seasons, setting a major league record of 3,347 consecutive at bats without a home run.
Thevenow was acquired by the Cardinals on September 3, 1924, when he was purchased from the Syracuse Stars of the Class AA International League, where he played 140 games that season. He played 23 games for the Cardinals that season, debuting on September 4 and finishing the season with a batting average of .202. He played 50 games with St. Louis in 1925, concluding the season with a .269 average, in addition to 112 games played for Syracuse.
During the 1926 season, Thevenow hit the first home run of his major league career on September 17 off Reds pitcher Jack Knight, an inside-the-park homer that was part of 10–1 win over the fading Cincinnati Reds, who would lose seven of their last nine games down the stretch. Five days later, Thevenow would hit another inside-the-park home run, the second and final regular season home run of his career, as the Cardinals beat the Brooklyn Dodgers by a score of 15–7, putting the Cardinals 2½ games ahead of the Reds for first place in the National League. Over the rest of the 1926 season and the next 12 years of his major league career, Thevenow would not hit another home run (his final 3,347 at-bats), the most consecutive at bats without a home run in major league history. He finished the 1926 season with a .256 batting average and came in fourth in balloting for that season's National League Most Valuable Player, an award won by teammate Bob O'Farrell.
The Cardinals won the NL pennant and faced the New York Yankees in the 1926 World Series. In the second game of the series, Thevenow hit a ball to right field off Yankee pitcher Sad Sam Jones which Babe Ruth could not corral as he ran towards the ball at full speed, while Thevenow rounded the bases and scored ahead of Ruth's throw to the plate, with the official scorer ruling it an inside-the-park home run. Thevenow would go on to get 10 hits in 24 at-bats for a .417 batting average, leading the Cardinals to win the series in seven games.
Thevenow's hitting dropped below the Mendoza Line in 1927, with an average of .194 in 59 games. He picked it up a bit in 1928, ending the season having played 69 games and finishing with a .205 batting average. Following the season, the Cardinals traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for shortstop Heinie Sand and $10,000.
- Vass, George. "Punch and Judy: many major league hitters are successful without possessing home run power", Baseball Digest, May 2002. Accessed June 28, 2009.
- Staff. "TOMMY THEVENOW, FORMER SHORTSTOP", The New York Times, July 30, 1957. Accessed June 28, 2009.
- Tommy Thevenow, Baseball-Reference. Accessed June 28, 2009.
- Tommy Thevenow - Minor League statistics, Baseball-Reference. Accessed June 28, 2009.
- Charlton's Baseball Chronology - 1926, BaseballLibrary.com. Accessed June 28, 2009.
- Snyder, John. "The World Series' Most Wanted", p. 126. Brassey's, 2004. ISBN 1-57488-728-9. Accessed June 28, 2009.