George Thomas

From BR Bullpen

Note: This page is for George Thomas, major league player from 1957-1971. For players with similar names, click here


George Edward Thomas Jr.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

George Thomas, originally a bonus baby, played thirteen years in the majors, having some of his best seasons with the bat towards the end of his career. Thomas was the head coach for the University of Minnesota from 1979 to 1981.

For much of his career he was a back-up, appearing at every position other than pitcher, and he uttered quite a few funny lines about being a utility player. Perhaps the funniest was when he saw the young Johnny Bench at spring training, and remarked that he and Bench played the same position, only Bench had it written on his uniform.

Thomas had a strong arm, and while he did not play pitcher at the major league level, Bill Rigney sometimes had him warm up in the bullpen and if the occasion had called for it, Thomas might have even appeared as a pitcher.

Thomas was at the University of Minnesota in 1957, and was signed by the Detroit Tigers in August 1957. By September, he was in the majors, appearing in one game. He appeared in another game in 1958 and then came back in 1961. He was traded to the Los Angeles Angels in mid-1961 and became a frequently-used player, hitting .280 with 13 home runs in 79 games with the Angels.

In mid-1963 he was traded back to Detroit and spent 1963 to 1965 with them. He was then traded after the 1965 season to the Boston Red Sox, with whom he spent most of the rest of his major league career, hitting well over .300 in 1969 and 1970. He had two at-bats in the 1967 World Series.

His father had been a semi-pro player. George was a three-sport star at Bloomington High School in Minnesota. He also played pro ball in Mexico, for Birmingham, Augusta (where his brother Jerry was a teammate), Denver and Louisville. He was in the Army in 1960 and 1961 and again in 1961 and 1962. He had a number of injuries, including a fractured jaw in 1959, a broken finger in 1967, torn ligaments in 1969 and a broken wrist in 1970. He was named a coach for part of 1969 with the Red Sox.

After his days in baseball he worked for a company in Minnesota for many years.

George's brother Jerry, although he never came to the majors, had his own measure of fame, being named the outstanding player for the 1956 College World Series. He played several years in the minors.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ray Birch: "George Thomas", in Bill Nowlin and Dan Desrochers, eds.: The 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox: 'Pandemonium on the Field', SABR, Rounder Books, Burlington, MA, 2007, pp. 124-128. ISBN 978-1-5794-0141-2

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