Marcus Thames

Marcus Markley Thames (/ˈtɪmz/ TIMZ;[1] born March 6, 1977) is an American professional baseball left fielder, designated hitter, and coach. He played for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB) from 2002 through 2011, and coached the Yankees from 2016 through 2021.

Marcus Thames
Marcus Thames.jpg
Thames coaching the Tampa Yankees in 2013
Miami Marlins
Left fielder / Designated hitter / Coach
Born: (1977-03-06) March 6, 1977 (age 44)
Louisville, Mississippi
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 10, 2002, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
July 6, 2011, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Batting average.246
Home runs115
Runs batted in301
As player

As coach

For his career, Thames averaged a home run every 15.9 at-bats[1] and holds the Tigers franchise record for average at-bats per home run, at 14.8.[2]

Collegiate careerEdit

He attended East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi.

Professional careerEdit

First stint with the YankeesEdit

Thames was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft.

Thames warranted "prospect" status from the Yankees following a standout 2001 season for the AA affiliate Norwich Navigators, in which he batted .321 with 31 home runs and 97 runs batted in. For his efforts, he was named to the Baseball America minor league all-star team.[3]

On June 10, 2002, Thames began his major league career with a bang as he was the 80th player in history to hit a home run in his first at bat. Thames hit the home run off the first pitch he saw from Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks. As his coaches and teammates were laughing in amazement, Thames stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call to a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium.[4]

Texas RangersEdit

On June 6, 2003, the Yankees, who were looking for a left-handed batter, traded Thames to the Texas Rangers for Rubén Sierra.[5] Thames hit a home run in his first at bat with the Rangers.[1]

Detroit TigersEdit

Thames with Tigers, 2007

Thames was granted free-agency on October 15 and signed with the Detroit Tigers on December 7.[5]

The next two seasons saw Thames splitting time between the Tigers and their AAA affiliate Toledo Mud Hens. While dominating the AAA level, he found it difficult to crack the outfield rotation in place with the parent club. However, in 2006 Thames made his first opening day roster with the blessing of new manager Jim Leyland.[6] Playing sparsely early in the season, he soon seized his opportunity for extended playing time due to injuries to Dmitri Young and Craig Monroe. Although he suffered through a slump near the end of the season, Thames was a key component to the Tigers vast improvement in the 2006 season. He set career highs in every offensive category, hitting .256 with 26 home runs and 60 RBIs in only 348 at-bats, finishing with a solid .882 OPS. He was nicknamed "Country Strong" by Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen.

Thames spent a considerable amount of time during 2007 spring training learning the first base position, as Leyland sought ways to get Thames at-bats.[7]

On July 1, 2007, Thames hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the only run in the game in a victory over the Minnesota Twins. On July 6, he hit the third grand slam of his career at Comerica Park against the Boston Red Sox.[8] On July 8, Thames hit one of the longest home runs in the history of Comerica Park. Batting against pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox, Thames hit a home run to deep center field that bounced off the camera area. The last Tiger to hit a home run to that area was Eric Munson in 2004.

Thames hit eight home runs in a seven-game stretch from June 11 to 17, 2008, becoming the first Tiger in team history to achieve that feat. During that streak, eight consecutive hits were home runs.[9]

On August 9, 2009, Thames hit his 100th career home run. He was released from the Tigers at the end of the season.[10]

Second stint with the YankeesEdit

Thames signed a minor league deal to return to the Yankees on February 8, 2010.[11] His contract was purchased prior to the regular season, adding him to the Yankees' opening day roster.[12]

Thames began the season platooning in left field with Brett Gardner, but was soon moved to a bench role because of his poor defense and Gardner's ability to hit left-handed pitchers. Thames would see more regular starts in left when Curtis Granderson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, as well as a few starts in right field when Nick Swisher was sidelined with an injury. However, in the latter part of the season, he rarely played the outfield, especially after the acquisition of Austin Kearns.

He hit .288 with 12 home runs in 82 games.[13] Although he usually only started against left-handed pitchers, Thames came through with several big hits in 2010. On May 17, he hit a walk-off home run against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. On July 4, Thames returned from a DL stint to hit a game-ending single against the Toronto Blue Jays. On August 11, he helped the Yankees come back from a five-run deficit by hitting a home run in the eighth inning and a go-ahead single in the ninth inning to beat the Rangers. In a six-game stretch from August 24 to 30, he had 6 home runs and 11 RBIs in 21 at-bats.[1]

On July 29, 2010, Thames made his first career appearance at third base (minor leagues included) as a late-inning replacement. He committed a throwing error in his only chance.[14] During the 2010 ALCS, Thames served as the designated hitter when Lance Berkman took over first base and Mark Teixeira went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The Yankees lost the ALCS to the Texas Rangers in 6 games.

Thames elected free agency from the Yankees on November 7, 2010.[15]

Los Angeles DodgersEdit

Thames with Dodgers, April 2011

Thames signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2011 season.[16] He made 70 appearances for the Dodgers before being designated for assignment on July 12. He had a .197 batting average for Los Angeles.[17] He was released a few days later.

Third stint with the YankeesEdit

On July 22, 2011, the New York Yankees signed Thames to a minor league deal.[18] However, he never played in a game for the Yankees at any level of their system the rest of the season.

Coaching careerEdit

Minor leaguesEdit

On January 10, 2013, Thames was named the hitting coach of the Class A-Advanced Tampa Yankees.[19]

For the 2014 season Marcus Thames was named the hitting coach of the New York Yankees Double-A affiliate the Trenton Thunder.[20] Top Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder credited Thames with helping him rework his swing that allowed him to have his breakout 2014 season.[21]

Thames was considered by the New York Yankees for their vacant hitting coach job and for a new role as assistant hitting coach prior to the 2015 season, but he ultimately was named hitting coach for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.[22]

New York YankeesEdit

After the 2015 season, the Yankees dismissed Jeff Pentland as their hitting coach, promoted Alan Cockrell, their assistant hitting coach, to replace him, and promoted Thames to the role of assistant hitting coach.[23] After the 2017 season, the Yankees dismissed Alan Cockrell as their hitting coach and promoted Thames to hitting coach.[24] His contract was not renewed for the 2022 season.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Thames's mother, Veterine, has been paralyzed since an auto accident when Marcus was five years old. As a result, she has only been able to watch him play in person a handful of times.[26]

Thames's nickname, "Slick", is the result of getting his hair cut too short when he was four years old.

Thames served in the Mississippi National Guard from 1994 to 1998.[27] He has one daughter, Jade.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Marcus Thames Stats, News, Photos - Detroit Tigers". Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  2. ^ "Detroit Tigers Top 10 Batting Leaders". Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  3. ^ "Bleacher Report: New York Yankee's Latest Hero: Marcus Thames". LockerPulse. August 15, 2010. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "Rookie homers on first pitch in majors -- off the Big Unit!". CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Marcus Thames Statistics and History -". Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "2006 Detroit Tigers Roster by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  7. ^ "Marcus Thames". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  8. ^ CNN Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  9. ^ Shpigel, Ben (September 1, 2010). "In the Lineup, Out of the Park: Thames on a Home Run Roll". The New York Times. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  10. ^ AP File Photo (November 7, 2009). "Tigers part ways with outfielder Marcus Thames, catcher Matt Treanor". Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  11. ^ "Transactions | Team". September 17, 2010. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  12. ^ Yankees Keep Thames - Lo Hud Archived September 28, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Thames rewarding Yanks for opportunity". Retrieved October 10, 2010.
  14. ^ "Yanks give Thames a try at third base". New York Yankees. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  15. ^ "Transactions".
  16. ^ "Dodgers reach agreement with Marcus Thames, close to signing Gabe Kapler". Los Angeles Times. January 17, 2011.
  17. ^ Dierkes, Tim. "Dodgers Acquire Juan Rivera; Designate Thames". Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ King III, George A. (July 22, 2011). "Damon says opponents respect Yankees' Robertson". New York Post.
  19. ^ Blontz, Blaine (January 11, 2013). "Marcus Thames retires". MLB Daily Dish. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  20. ^ "Marcus Thames arrives with Trenton Thunder with offense in mind". April 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  21. ^ Haynes, Stephen (August 9, 2014). "Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder awaits his chance". Newsday. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  22. ^ "Where is Yankees' Marcus Thames going? (UPDATED)". January 9, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
  23. ^ "Yankees fill hitting coach jobs with promotion, former player". November 2, 2015.
  24. ^ "Marcus Thames promoted to Yankees hitting coach". USA Today.
  25. ^ "Yankees' Marcus Thames speaks on firing". October 14, 2021.
  26. ^ Curry, Jack (October 22, 2006). "Marcus Thames's Mother Inspires and Amazes". The New York Times.
  27. ^ Sielski, Mike (October 12, 2010). "Thames Is a Situational Success". The Wall Street Journal.

External linksEdit

Preceded by New York Yankees Hitting Coach
Succeeded by