In a 10-season career, Tiny Bonham posted a 103-72 record with 478 strikeouts and a 3.06 ERA in 1551.0 innings pitched. Bonham kept opposing batters off balance with an assortment of deliveries. He started his professional baseball career with the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League in 1935. He worked his way up through the New York Yankees minor league system until 1940, when he was summoned from Triple-A Kansas City to anchor a weak Yankees pitching staff. Remaining with the Yankees until 1946, Tiny Bonham was a pitching mainstay of manager Joe McCarthy’s pennant-winning combinations between 1941 and 1943. Bonham supplied his team with the decisive complete game 4-hit 3–1 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game Five of the 1941 World Series played at Ebbets Field. But Bonham was ill-fated in his other Series starts, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942 and 1943, both times by 4–3 scores. His most productive season came in 1942, when he led the American League with 21 wins, six shutouts, 22 complete games and a .808 winning percentage. He made the All-Star team that season and again in 1943.
Hampered by a chronic back ailment during his last few years with the Yankees, which were interrupted by a brief time in the Army in 1944, Bonham was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1947 season. Although his physical condition was such that he could not be counted on regularly, Bonham provided three solid seasons for the Pirates. After an 1-4 start in 1949, Bonham won six straight games for a floundering Pittsburgh club, including an 8–2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on August 28, his final game. Eighteen days later Bonham died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the age of 36, following an appendectomy and stomach surgery.
- August, 16, 1913
- Ione, California
- September, 15, 1949
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death
- Saint Marys Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum
- Sacramento, California