Syd Thrift

From BR Bullpen

Sydnor W. Thrift, Jr.

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Syd Thrift was a former pitcher in the Yankees system, as he signed with them in 1949. He went 4-2 with a 3.67 ERA for the LaGrange Troupers and hit .306 with four homers and 27 RBI. He had no decisions in 1950 for the Amsterdam Rugmakers. In 1953, Thrift had no decisions for the West Palm Beach Indians and was 3-4, 4.43 with the Leesburg Lakers, hitting .231/~.333/.323 as their most-used first baseman (65 games there).

Thrift coached for Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, VA in 1956. From 1957-1967, he was a scouting supervisor and spring training instructor in the Pittsburgh Pirates system and from 1969-1972 he was the director of the Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy, which produced 14 major leaguers, including Frank White. Thrift was the Oakland A's farm director in 1976.

Thrift became the General Manager of the Pirates on November 7, 1985 and hired Jim Leyland as manager a couple weeks later. A hands-on administrator, Thrift once brought Barry Bonds back after a visit to the Pirates' Hawaii Islanders farm team and being very impressed. He was responsible for dealing away veterans like Don Robinson, Tony Pena and Rick Reuschel in exchange for young prospects like Doug Drabek, Andy Van Slyke, Mike LaValliere, Mike Dunne, Jose Lind and Jeff Robinson; he also acquired Jim Gott, Bobby Bonilla and other players who helped make the Pirates competitive and win the National League East from 1990-1992. Thrift was not around for it as he lost his job on October 4, 1988 after conflicts with management. Syd's son Jim Thrift managed five years in the minors.

Thrift was assistant GM of the Chicago Cubs from 1992 to 1994. He was farm director of the Baltimore Orioles from 1995 to 1998, assistant to the GM in 1999 and GM December of 1999 to 2002.

Thrift authored The Game According to Syd and was honored by the Arthritis Foundation in 1987.

Preceded by
Hardy Peterson
Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager
Succeeded by
Larry Doughty
Preceded by
Frank Wren
Baltimore Orioles General Manager
Succeeded by
Mike Flanagan & Jim Beattie

Sources include obituary in the September 20, 2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (written by Paul Meyer) and Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database

Related Reading[edit]

  • Baltimore Orioles Information and Record Book: 2001 Edition