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Valmy Thomas (October 21, 1925 – October 16, 2010)[1][2] was a Major League Baseball catcher. Thomas was the first Virgin Islands native to play in the major leagues (his mother gave birth to Thomas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, because of better medical care available there, returning to their native land immediately after his birth).

Valmy Thomas
Catcher
Born: (1925-10-21)October 21, 1925
Santurce, Puerto Rico
Died: October 16, 2010(2010-10-16) (aged 84)
Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 16, 1957, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1961, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.230
Home runs12
Runs batted in60
Teams

Thomas was listed as 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) tall and 165 pounds (75 kg); he threw and batted right-handed. His professional career began in 1951; then, after a three-year hiatus, it resumed in 1955 in the Class C Provincial League in the Canadian province of Quebec. In his five-year major league career (1957–61), he played for five different home cities: the New York Giants (1957), San Francisco Giants (1958), Philadelphia Phillies (1959), Baltimore Orioles (1960) and Cleveland Indians (1961). Thomas was one of the original San Francisco Giants, opening the 1958 season as their starting catcher in their first-ever official game on the West Coast.[3] In 252 total MLB games played, he started 182 games behind the plate. He collected 144 hits, with 20 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs and 60 runs batted in. He hit .230 lifetime.

After his major league career, while playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the International League in 1962, Thomas was shot and critically wounded in a dispute over a woman by mortician-musician Cleveland Lyons, who then committed suicide.[4] That season was the last of Thomas' professional career.

Thomas died in Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, at the age of 84.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Obituary, The San Francisco Examiner, October 23, 2010
  2. ^ Baseball Happenings, October 23, 2010
  3. ^ The Original San Francisco Giants, by Steve Bitker, Sports Publishing, Inc., 1998.
  4. ^ "Catcher is critical following shooting". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. 22 August 1962. p. 13. Retrieved 8 June 2010.

External linksEdit