The Phillies announced the passing of former major league player and general manager Lee Thomas this afternoon. he was 87 years old.
A native of St. Louis, Thomas began his professional career in 1954 immediately after graduating from high school. He ran through the Yankees farm system for his seven years, became the first New York team to drink coffee in 1961, and eventually won his series at the Worlds. Thomas was not at the club at the time, as the Yankees traded the left-handed hitter to the expansion Angels a few weeks into the 1961 season.As a rookie, Thomas appeared in 130 games, posting an impressive . recorded .491 lines. He finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and his impressive showing earned him a regular spot between the outfield and first base at Halos Corner for the next few seasons.
Thomas had perhaps the best year of his career in 1962, hitting 26 home runs and scoring 104 runs in a .290/.355/.467 slashline. He appeared in his 160 games, earned an All-Star spot in his game, and finished 11th in AL MVP voting. However, Thomas’ production dipped in the following season and he was established as a journeyman by the 1964 campaign. He played for his five teams, the Angels, the Reds, the Sox, the Braves, the Astros and the Cubs, until his retirement in 1968. And 428 RBI.
An eight-year playing career, marked by All-Star appearances and early-career award support, would have been impressive enough in itself, but Thomas’ impact on the game extends far beyond his days on the field. He transitioned to coaching the minors and eventually to a front office job for the Cardinals. He was a member of the St. When he was hired by the Phillies as vice president of player personnel in June, he got the opportunity to run his own baseball operations department.
Thomas led the Phils’ baseball team for nearly ten years. His front office put together his 97-win roster and advanced to his series at the 1993 Worlds. Joe Carter A home run in the championship game. Thomas served as his GM in Philadelphia until 1997, when he was replaced by Ed Wade. He’s spent time with the Reds’ Sox, Astros, Brewers, Orioles this century, and was a special assistant at Baltimore in 2018. Thomas’ industry career spanned over 70 years.
MLBTR extends its condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues during the game.