Lee Thomas (baseball)

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Lee Thomas
Outfielder / First baseman
Born: (1936-02-05) February 5, 1936 (age 83)
Peoria, Illinois
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 22, 1961, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1968, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average .255
Home runs 106
Runs batted in 428
Career highlights and awards

James Leroy "Lee" Thomas (born February 5, 1936) is a former player and current front-office executive in American Major League Baseball. As general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from 1988 to 1997, Thomas built the Phillies from a below .500 club into the 1993 champions of the National League.

In his playing days, Thomas was a powerful outfielder and first baseman who batted left-handed and threw right-handed. Originally a member of the New York Yankees organization (1954–61), Thomas could not break into the Bombers' strong lineup despite putting up good offensive statistics in minor league baseball. He had two at bats for the 1961 Yanks (garnering one hit), then was traded to the expansion Los Angeles Angels during the Halos' first American League season. As an everyday player with the Angels and Boston Red Sox, from 1961 to 1965, Thomas topped the 20 home run mark three times, and drove in 104 RBI for the Angels in 1962. The remainder of his Major League playing career (1966–68) was spent in the National League as a part-time player and pinch hitter with the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. He compiled a career batting average of .255 with 106 home runs. After his major league career, he played in Japan in 1969 for the Nankai Hawks.

He was signed by Yankees scout Lou Maguolo.[1]

In 1970, Thomas joined the St. Louis Cardinals as the major league bullpen coach. In 1972, Thomas served as manager for the Red Birds in the Gulf Coast League. In 1973, Thomas managed the Medesto Reds in class A. He then moved into their front office, becoming traveling secretary in 1975 and eventually rising to the position of director of player development in 1980. He was a key member of the Cardinals' organization during the club's run of success during the early to mid-1980s when the Cards, led by manager Whitey Herzog, won NL pennants in 1982, 1985 and 1987 and the 1982 World Series.

In June 1988, Thomas was lured to Philadelphia to take command of the Phillies. He acquired players such as Curt Schilling, Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams, who played critical roles in the Phils' 1993 pennant-winning team, which lost the 1993 World Series to the Toronto Blue Jays. That same year, The Sporting News and Boston Sports Writers both named him Executive of the Year for all of Major League Baseball.

When four straight losing seasons followed the '93 pennant, Thomas was replaced as GM by Ed Wade, his assistant. He then returned to the Red Sox as a special assistant to the general manager from 1998 to 2003, where he played a key role in Boston's signing of free agent outfielder Manny Ramírez in December 2000. He served the Milwaukee Brewers as a pro scout,[2] and on December 4, 2011, he joined the Baltimore Orioles as a special assistant to general manager Dan Duquette, with whom he worked in Boston.[3]

See also


  1. "Lou Maguolo". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 17 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Baseball America Annual Directory, 2004-05 and 2009 editions
  3. The Associated Press
Preceded by
Woody Woodward
Philadelphia Phillies General Manager
Succeeded by
Ed Wade
Preceded by
Dan Duquette
Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year
Succeeded by
John Hart