Lee Thomas Passes Away – MLB Trade Rumors

The Phillies announced this afternoon that former major league player and general manager Lee Thomas has passed away. He is 87 years old.

Thomas, a St. Louis native, began his career shortly after graduating high school in 1954. He spent seven years climbing the Yankees’ farm system and got his first coffee with the New York team that won the World Series in 1961. Thomas wasn’t at the club at the time, as the Yankees traded the left-handed hitter to the expansion Angels a few weeks after the start of the ’61 season. Thomas played 130 games as a rookie and posted an impressive .284/.353/.491 line. He was tied for third in AL Rookie of the Year voting, and his impressive performance made him a regular spot between outfield and first base at Halos Corner for the next few seasons.

Thomas had arguably the best year of his career in 1962, hitting 26 home runs and 104 runs with .290/.355/.467 slashes. He played 160 games, earned a spot in the All-Star Game and finished 11th in AL MVP voting. However, Thomas’ production declined the following season, and he settled down as a journeyman during the 1964 campaign. In 1968, he played for five teams — the Angels, Red Sox, Warriors, Astros and Cubs — until the end of his game day. For parts of eight seasons, Thomas compiled a .255/.327/.397 line with 106 rounds and 428 RBIs.

An eight-year career featuring an All-Star lineup and some early-career award support is impressive enough on its own, but Thomas’ impact on the game extends well beyond his days on the floor. He switched to coaching the minors and ended up working in the front office for the Cardinals. During the 1982 championship season, he was part of the St. Louis front office, and when he was hired by the Phillies as vice president of player personnel in June 1988, he had the opportunity to run his own baseball operations division.

Thomas will lead the Phils baseball operation for nearly a decade. In 1993, his management assembled a roster that would win 97 games and advance to the World Series, ultimately losing in six games in Toronto. Joe Carter A home run to win a championship. Thomas was Philadelphia’s general manager until he was replaced by Ed Wade in 1997. This century, he will continue to spend time with the Red Sox, Astros, Brewers and Orioles, most recently in Baltimore in 2018 as a special assistant. All told, Thomas’ career in the industry spanned seven decades.

MLBTR extends its condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues throughout the game.

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