Title: Baseball Player
Birthdate: November 17, 1857
Death Date: April 1, 1943
Plot Location: Section 116, Lot 289
Thomas H. “Pat” Deasley was the son of an Irish couple, William and Margaret Gable Deasley, who escaped from the Potato Famine of the 1840s. His brother, John Deasley, a fellow Mount Moriah Notable, was born in 1861. Twenty years later both Pat and John learned the trade of cigar making from their father, who was also employed as a gilder, one who overlays something with gold. Both boys participated in the early years of professional baseball. Pat made his major league debut as a catcher with the Boston Red Caps on May 18, 1881.
The president of the National League was William Hulbert who prohibited play on Sundays and established a code of conduct for how players dressed and acted outside the ballpark, including a ban on profane language and consumption of alcohol. National League ballparks couldn’t sell alcohol on game days, so several teams that were expelled for violating the rules joined with other unaffiliated teams to create the American Association league. It was nicknamed the “Beer and Whiskey League” because alcohol could be sold at games and the players were also known to imbibe.
Pat moved to St. Louis in 1883 when he became part of a story that would suit today’s tabloids. After a quarrel, fellow catcher Tom Dolan went to the press with stories of Pat’s drinking and a salary dispute. Pat responded in an article in Sporting Life claiming the assertions were “a pack of lies.” However, the owner of the St. Louis Browns considered him a troublemaker and after two seasons he was released by the Browns and signed by New York for the 1885 season.
While playing for the Giants, Pat had a minor run-in with the law in Philadelphia. According to an article in the New York Times on March 10, 1887, he was allegedly drunk when he hurled three cuspidors (spittoons) through a store window on Germantown Avenue. Pat said it was only a snowball he was carelessly handling when it went through the window and he “had not touched a drop of liquor for eight weeks, at which time he swore off and signed the pledge for one year.” Payment of 30 cents was made to cover the cost of the glass to make amends and correct any wrong impression of his habits.
The final season was in 1888 with the Washington Nationals. He was a teammate of Connie Mack, another catcher who went on to manage the Philadelphia Athletics for 50 years. In a career that spanned 8 years, Pat had over 1400 at bats but never hit a home run.
He never married, either, returning to Philadelphia to live with his parents until they both died in 1898, and then with his brother’s family. He may have helped roll cigars for his brother’s tobacco shop but he never listed an occupation on any census report and returned to using his given name. It was quite a change after being famous enough to be on trading cards. After John died in 1910, he continued to live in the same home with Gertrude and her children 32 more years. He died less than six months after she did.
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