Valmy Thomas (October 21, 1925 – October 16, 2010) 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).
|Born: October 21, 1925|
Santurce, Puerto Rico
|Died: October 16, 2010 (aged 84)|
Christiansted, St. Croix, Virgin Islands
|April 16, 1957, for the New York Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 1961, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Runs batted in||60|
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. 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. That season was the last of Thomas' professional career.
- Obituary, The San Francisco Examiner, October 23, 2010
- Baseball Happenings, October 23, 2010
- The Original San Francisco Giants, by Steve Bitker, Sports Publishing, Inc., 1998.
- "Catcher is critical following shooting". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. 22 August 1962. p. 13. Retrieved 8 June 2010.