Faye Throneberry was born on June 22, 1931, in Fisherville, Tennessee. He was raised in nearby Collierville with his brother Marv, born two years later. A far better athlete than student, he was held back twice in grade school and eventually dropped out of Collierville High School two years before his scheduled graduation He had batted nearly .500 for the high-school baseball team.
Moving on to play American Legion ball with the Corbitt Motors team after leaving high school, he batted a reported .480 there. By early 1950, he was being heavily courted by big-league scouts.
The Detroit Tigers made the best offer, and in March 1950, he signed. But less than a month later, Baseball Commissioner Happy Chandler ruled the contract invalid, in violation of the prevailing rule that the 18-year-old was ineligible to sign a professional baseball contract until the day after the original class with which he entered High School graduates, and after clubs have been bulletined with respect to his eligibility. Instead, he later signed with the Boston Red Sox in June.
The Red Sox sent him to the Single-A Scranton Miners for the next two years. He prospered in 1951, blasting 13 home runs to go along with a .304 batting average. In 1952, he reported to a special early training camp held by the Red Sox in Sarasota, Florida. This camp was designed to help talented youngsters skip a minor league classification on their way to the majors.
He went on to star in the annual pre-season City Series with the Boston Braves, helping him secure a spot on the Opening Day roster. The 1952 Red Sox opened in Washington with Faye batting fifth and playing right field. Ted Williams’ departure for the Marines in April provided a fair amount of playing time in the outfield.
Despite his great start, Faye was not ready to star in the major leagues, hitting just .216 in April. One of those weaknesses was his work in the outfield, where he had problems with Fenway Park’s notorious “sun field” in right. In June, hitting just .222, he was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. He returned just a few weeks later, and hit well enough to play semi-regularly the rest of the season. His final rookie numbers were a .258 BA with five home runs.
In November he joined the US Army for what turned out to be a two-year hitch. He did his basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and spent some time in Korea.
When Faye returned for the 1955 season, the Red Sox had an opening in left field. Ted Williams had announced his retirement, though it turned out to be temporary. He led all Red Sox batters in hits and RBIs in spring training, batting .285 and was named Boston’s starting left fielder.
April 1955 was the pinnacle of Faye’s baseball career. For the month, he batted .362 with four home runs and 17 RBIs, posted a .424 on-base percentage, and played a solid left field. As the calendar turned from April to May, however, Faye began to slump. The worst for him came in May at Fenway Park. Unsuccessfully diving for a Gil McDougald looping line drive in the fourth inning, Faye landed hard on his right shoulder and had to be removed from the game. At first the injury appeared to be slight, merely a bruise, but X-rays revealed a slight shoulder separation. By that time, Ted Williams had returned and reclaimed his left-field position and Faye became a spare outfielder, paying sporadically the rest of the way, and ended the season with a .257 BA.
The 1956 season was a complete washout for him. After two months in a reserve role, he underwent an emergency appendectomy in June. He remained out of action until August and did not start a game until the Red Sox’ final game of the season. He played just 24 games the entire season, hitting .220 with one home run.
He was planning to play the same role for the Red Sox in 1957, but after just one at bat he was dealt to Washington. Faye finished the 1957 campaign at .184 with two home runs and 12 runs batted in. The next season, he repeated the .184 mark, this time appearing in a mere 44 games.
In 1959, as Washington’s regular right fielder, both Faye and the Senators slumped. The team plummeted from fifth place into the cellar in August and uring that period, Faye went 14-for-62 and lost his starting role.
He enjoyed a good spring training for the Nats in 1960, but would play most of the season as a utility man. After the season, he was selected in the expansion draft by the brand new Los Angeles Angels.
After extremely limited duty for the Angles in 1961, he was optioned to Toronto of the International League in July. He bounced around the minors for a couple more seasons before he was finally released by the Pacific Coast League’s Tacoma Giants in 1963.
After baseball, Faye Throneberry became a professional bird dog trainer, and passed away from heart failure at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, at age 67, on April 26, 1999.