The world made more sense to Danny Thomas when he was on the baseball field. Not always enough sense, but when things were going well, it was a respite from his demons. When he struggled on the diamond, however, his problems overwhelmed him. A longing search for inner peace eventually put him out of step with the game. He sacrificed his career for his God, but found religion to be no more of a permanent fix than baseball. In the end, there was no fix for Danny Thomas.
Danny Thomas bounced around a lot as a kid, from Birmingham to Mobile to southern Illinois and to the rough outskirts of East St. Louis. He described his mother as a “religious fanatic” who dabbled in all kinds of faiths before settling with the World Wide Church of God (WWCG), a sect of Fundamentalist Christianity that had been founded in the 1930s as an over-the-air radio church. For a time, Danny joined his mother in the church, but lapsed when its decree that no member shall work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday interfered with his baseball schedule.
His newfound inner peace came at a cost. Having rejoined the WWCG, Thomas was now forbidden to work between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday, when he was expected to meditate and attend church services. It was standard practice for teams to play Friday nights and Saturday afternoons, which meant Thomas would be unavailable for two games every week. Factoring in scheduled Saturday doubleheaders, Thomas estimated he would miss 40 games per season because of his religious convictions. “[The Brewers] were quite surprised,” Thomas said of his declaration. “They asked me to reconsider and I did. I thought about all the things I’ve been through and whether I should go back and become the old me or not. I decided there is something more important [than baseball] and said I couldn’t play on my Sabbath.”
Read the entire story here: The Strange Story of the Sundown Kid: Troubled Milwaukee Phenom Danny Thomas