Thomas Mullen Umphlett was born on May 12, 1930 in Scotland Neck, North Carolina. His only claim to fame is that he was a Major League Baseball player in 1953-1955. In 1953 he played for the Boston Red Sox, replacing Dom DiMaggio in center field. The following season he was traded to the Washington Senators in return for Jackie Jensen and possibly others. He retired after the 1955 season, ending his brief career in the major leagues.

Umphlett played in the minor leagues for some time after leaving the majors. In 1959 he played for the Minneapolis Millers (a farm team for the Boston Red Sox managed by Gene Mauch). That year may have featured the biggest games Umhplett ever played in, when the Millers faced the Havana Sugar Kings in the Junior World Series (the series was discontinued during the 1970s). During that game Umphlett and his teammates were allegedly threatened by Cuban soldiers during the game, with the implication that bad things would happen if they won the game. Carl Yastrzemski, who also was playing for the Millers at the time, wrote about this series in his autobiography, Yaz. In the end, Umphlett played a direct role in the outcome of the series. In the fifth game, Havana had a 3-1 lead in the series. The Millers took an early lead in the game, but in the bottom of the ninth inning Umphlett was unable to throw out Raul Sanchez at the plate. That scored the winning run for Havana.

On a personal note, I would like to point out how Tommy Umphlett, a thoroughly obscure player, came to my attention in the first place. In the 1980s I delighted in playing an Apple II computer game called Microleague Baseball. One of the teams that came programmed into the game was the 1955 Senators, and both my brother and I loved the name Umphlett. Despite his mediocre stats we'd reassure each other that he was no doubt an excellent fielder (not particularly true in actual fact), and we'd always cheer when he came to the plate in crucial situations. I seem to recall that Microleague had him listed as playing left field, so it is possible he moved to that position at some point during his tenure with the Senators.

Here is an abbreviated list of Umphlett's career statistics, courtesy of

Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180 lb.
Games: 361
At Bats: 1160
Runs: 108
Hits: 285
Doubles: 45
Triples: 8
Home Runs: 6
RBI: 111
Stolen Bases: 7
Caught Stealing: 5
Walks: 75
Strikeouts: 107
Batting Average: .246
On-Base Percentage: .292
Slugging Percentage: .314
Errors: 12
Fielding Percentage: .986