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Gorman Thomas

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James Gorman Thomas III

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[edit] Biographical Information

Gorman Thomas had one of the longest careers of the low-average sluggers from the 1980s. Thomas was the same general type of player as Rob Deer, Pete Incaviglia and others (lots of strikeouts and homers), but managed to survive 13 seasons and hit 268 home runs, in spite of batting only .225 lifetime. During the 1979 and 1980 seasons combined, he struck out a amazing 345 times.

He played center field for most of his career and although he didn't look like a speedy center fielder his range factors and fielding percentages were good enough for him to play there for most of his career. He was originally drafted as an infielder and he possessed an infielder's speed for at least the early part of his career. Injuries finally relegated him to DH.

Thomas drew copious walks, and his .324 on-base percentage to some extent made up for his low batting average. Winning a home-run championship gave him a star status that helped him remain in the big leagues after his prime was over.

He was an All-Star only once, in 1981. With the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982, and was a prominent member of Harvey's Wallbangers. The team went to the 1982 World Series, while Thomas led the league in home runs.

He was originally a shortstop who was drafted out of high school in the first round of the 1969 amateur draft, when the Brewers franchise was still the Seattle Pilots. In 1974 with the AAA Sacramento Solons, he hit 51 home runs, though to be fair Hughes Stadium was a football field that had a leftfield fence 232 feet away when converted to baseball. He hit another two home runs in the major leagues that season for a total of 53.

Thomas's 45 homers in 1979 were the Milwaukee Brewers record for 28 years until surpassed by Prince Fielder. Richie Sexson had twice tied Thomas's record.

There have been seven major leaguers (through 2008) with the last name "Gorman", and one other player with the first name "Gorman" - Gorman Heimueller, a contemporary.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • AL All-Star (1981)
  • 1985 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award
  • 2-time AL Home Runs Leader (1979 & 1982)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1978-1983 & 1985)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 5 (1978-1980, 1982 & 1985)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1979)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1979, 1980 & 1982)

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