Bradley Richard Thomas
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 4", Weight 235 lb.
- Debut May 26, 2001
- Final Game May 10, 2011
- Born October 22, 1977 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
A native of Australia, pitcher Brad Thomas spent parts of several seasons in the majors and played professionally in leagues on four continents.
Thomas was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 and made his pro debut the following summer with the Great Falls Dodgers, going 3-2 with a 6.31 ERA in 11 appearances. Released by the Dodgers the next year, he was soon signed by the Minnesota Twins and went 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 outings for the Elizabethton Twins in 1997. He represented Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. He reached the majors with the Twins the following year, making his debut as a starter in the second game of a May 26th doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics. He gave up 4 earned runs in 1 2/3 innings of work against the A's but was spared the loss as Minnesota came back to win in extra innings. Overall, he went 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in 5 starts for the Twins. Later that summer, he returned to the AA New Britain Rock Cats. At the end of the season, he was scheduled to return home with his girlfriend, flying from Boston to Los Angeles to Australia. When the Rock Cats won the Eastern League semifinal series, he changed his original travel plans, no longer taking the September 11th flight he was originally scheduled on, which ended up being hijacked by terrorists and crashing into the World Trade Center.
After spending 2002 with the Edmonton Trappers, Thomas was back in the majors with the Twins in 2003 and 2004. He went to Japan in 2005 and 2006, pitching for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He was back in the U.S. in 2007 with the Tacoma Rainiers in the Seattle Mariners organization.
In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Thomas was 1-0 with two saves and a 2.08 ERA in five games for the Australian national team. He blew a save against the Cuban national team - entering with one out in the bottom of the 9th, he retired Alexander Mayeta and got two strikes on Frederich Cepeda before surrendering a home run. He allowed an inherited runner to score in the 9th against the Dutch national team to fall behind 3-2 but Australia rallied to win in the bottom of the 9th when Dutch closer Michiel van Kampen was even less effective. Thomas got saves against the German national team and Team Canada. The Canadian game was another close call. Thomas entered with a 7-5 lead and gave up a RBI single to Mike Saunders and a walk to Jamie Romak before getting a double play ball from Emmanuel Garcia to end the frame. The play was controversial as it was unclear if SS Brad Harman had control of the ball as he touched second base.
Thomas was the first foreigner to save 30 games in a season in the Korea Baseball Organization, doing so for the 2008 SK Wyverns. In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, he was Australia's top hurler, tossing one shutout inning with two strikeouts and no baserunners allowed.
In 2010, Thomas returned to the major leagues, playing at that level for the first time since 2004. In 49 appearances with the Detroit Tigers, he went 6-2 with a 3.89 ERA. He was back with the Tigers for a dozen games in 2011. After his major league days, he played professionally in Taiwan and Australia.