Sunday, March 6, 2016

Back on Topps' Radar: George Thomas

Outfielder George Thomas (#521) rejoined the Topps baseball set in 1969, after a 1-year absence. George had cards every year from 1961 to 1971, except for ’68 and ’70.

Most of his cards list him only as an outfielder. This is the only card that added “catcher” to his repertoire. Not sure why – Thomas had been in the majors continuously from 1961 to 1967, and only caught 3 innings in ’66 and 4 innings in ’67 during that time.

George was signed by the Tigers in August 1957 as a bonus baby. He remained on Detroit’s roster for the remainder of the season, getting only 1 at-bat.

Thomas returned to the minors for 1958 and remained down on the farm through the end of the 1960 season. He began the ’61 season with the Tigers, but was sold to the Los Angeles Angels in June. He shared the right field job with Albie Pearson, and also started 3 dozen games at third base.

George was the team’s 4th outfielder in 1962, playing mostly in right field. In June 1963 he was traded back to the Tigers, where he remained as an extra man for the next year and a half.

In October 1965, Thomas and George Smith were traded to the Red Sox for pitcher Bill Monbouquette. He played 2 seasons with the Sox (including 2 at-bats in the ’67 World Series) then played most of the 1968 season in the minors.

Thomas played 3 more seasons in a greatly-reduced role before calling it a career. He was released by Boston in late-June 1971. The Twins picked him up on the same day, and he finished out the season with Minnesota until his release in October.

He played 12 seasons, and appeared at every position except pitcher.