Tom McCarthy was born September 15, 1934 in Toronto, Ontario. After five seasons in the OHA, with stops in Weston, Toronto and Guelph, McCarthy was traded by Toronto to the New York Rangers in the summer of 1955.
In the fall of 1955, McCarthy joined Saskatoon-Vancouver of the WHL where he would play for one season before being claimed by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1956 Intra-League Draft. Over the course of the next three seasons, McCarthy would split his time between Detroit, the WHL and the AHL before being traded to the Boston Bruins during the 1960-61 season.
Prior to being acquired by the Bruins in January of 1961, McCarthy had been seeing action with the EPHL's Sudbury Wolves where he was a EPHL First Team All-Star in 1960. Upon his arrival with the Bruins, McCarthy went on to play in a career high 24 games with the club while recording nine points (4-5-9).
Following his season in Boston, McCarthy found himself once again toiling in the minors while being re-acquired by Toronto in the summer of 1964. An EPHL Second Team All-Star in 1962 as a member of the Kingston Frontenacs, McCarthy tallied a career high 53 goals while finishing with 98 points.
From Toronto, McCarthy had his rights dealt to Montreal in the summer of 1965 and then transferred to Vancouver of the WHL in 1968 after the WHL club purchased Rochester (AHL) franchise. An offensive threat wherever he played, McCarthy toiled mostly in the AHL in the mid to late 1960s before having his NHL rights transferred to Vancouver after the NHL club purchased Vancouver (WHL) franchise in December, 1969.
In the fall of 1970 McCarthy returned to where it all began for him, the OHA. As a member of the OHA0-Sr. Orillia Terriers McCarthy continued to be a strong presence on the ice, scoring 60 points (22-38-60) in 39 games and helping lead the Galt Hornets to the Allan Cup title in the spring of 1971. After two more seasons in the OHA-Sr., McCarthy would call it a career.