Tom “Cyclops” Sunkel, pitcher
1940 Columbus Red Birds
1945-46 St. Paul Saints
A belated commemoration: Thomas Jacob “Cyclops” Sunkel died ten years ago on April 6, 2002 at the age of 89 in his hometown of Paris, Illinois.
Sunkel’s American Association career began with the Columbus Red Birds in 1940 when he won 13 against seven losses. The native of Paris, IL was blind in one eye, hence his nickname.
The southpaw nearly equalled his performance in 1940 with a 13-8 record in 1945 as a member of the St. Paul Saints, bringing distinction to his fine record by leading the American Association with 134 strikeouts in 170 innings of work. He started 28 games, completing eight and threw one shutout. In 1946 he went 6-6 with St. Paul. On September 12, 1946, Sunkel threw a no-hitter against the Louisville Colonels at Louisville, as the Saints won, 3-0.
Beginning his career in 1934, Sunkel made it to the Big Show in 1937 when he appeared in nine games with the St. Louis Cardinals. He finished his time in the Bigs with a 1-3 season with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943.
Sunkel wrapped up his career in pro ball managing the Paris (Ill.) Lakers of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League (D) from 1951-54, guiding them to an overall 293-199 (.596) record.
A park in Paris is named after Sunkel and is located adjacent to the St. Mary’s Cemetery where he was laid to rest.