December 22, 2007 -- When Tommy Byrne is buried in North Carolina on Thursday, the left-handed pitcher who was also a solid hitter will have a Yankees cap on his head.Bill Madden of the Daily News described Byrne's wildness, as well as a quote from Yogi Berra -
"Being a Yankee was his lifelong dream," John Byrne, Tommy Byrne's son, said last night from North Carolina...
...Byrne, who had two stints with the Yankees (1943-51; 1954-57) died of congestive heart failure Thursday morning in the town of Wake Forest, N.C. He would have been 88 New Year's Eve.
"Tommy had a great curveball and after he came back from the minors, he had a slider," Yogi Berra said Friday. "He was a great guy, one of my first roommates, and loved to have fun. He used to yell at the hitters, telling them what pitch was coming and they never believed him. I remember the time he came into the game and was warming up when all of a sudden he hit Mickey Vernon in the on-deck circle with a pitch because he thought Mickey was watching his pitches."Could you imagine if somebody did that today? The guy would be suspended, the league would hold a press conference, and there would be calls from parents all over the country about how this is bad for the children, how times have changed.
After his baseball career, Byrne returned to Wake Forest, NC, where he had attended college, and later became mayor from 1973 through 1987.