|Left fielder / Third baseman / First baseman|
|Born: June 11, 1929|
|August 17, 1951, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 30, 1966, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Runs batted in||962|
|Career highlights and awards|
Frank Joseph Thomas (born June 11, 1929) is an American former professional baseball left fielder, first baseman and third baseman who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1951-1958), Cincinnati Reds (1959), Chicago Cubs (1960-1961, 1966), Milwaukee Braves (1961, 1965), New York Mets (1962-1964), Philadelphia Phillies (1964-1965) and Houston Astros (1965). He batted and threw right-handed and was listed as 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) tall and 200 pounds (91 kg).
Born in Pittsburgh and of Lithuanian descent, as a teenager he attended a seminary in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood for 4 years before entering pro baseball.
Thomas signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur free agent in 1947. He debuted with the Pirates in 1951. With the Pirates, he made three All-Star Games, and finished fourth in the voting for Most Valuable Player in 1958, when he batted .281, finished second in the National League to Ernie Banks with 35 home runs, and had 109 RBIs. Thomas appeared on the cover of the July 28, 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated. He also won his only NL Player of the Month award in June, batting .275, with 9 HR, and 29 RBI. On August 16, 1958, Thomas hit 3 home runs in a 13-4 rout of the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1959, he was traded by the Pirates with Whammy Douglas, Jim Pendleton and John Powers to the Cincinnati Redlegs for Smoky Burgess, Harvey Haddix and Don Hoak. Due to a shattered nerve in the thumb of his right hand, Thomas home run output fell from 35 to 12 in 1959. Following the season, he was traded by the Redlegs to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Henry, Lou Jackson and Lee Walls. In 1961, he was traded by Cubs to the Milwaukee Braves for Mel Roach.
Thomas was traded by the Braves with a player to be named later (Rick Herrscher) to the New York Mets for a player to be named later (Gus Bell) and cash. Despite the team's historically poor inaugural season, Thomas led the expansion Mets with 34 HRs and 94 RBIs. His home run mark would last as a Mets' team record until 1975, when Dave Kingman broke it.
In 1964, Thomas was traded by the New York Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies for Wayne Graham, Gary Kroll and cash. He was purchased by the Houston Astros from the Phillies in July 1965 shortly after taking part in a fight with Dick Allen, but was traded to Braves for a player to be named later (Mickey Sinnerud) in September 1965.
On April 5, 1966, Thomas was released by the Braves. He signed with the Cubs on May 14, 1966, and after recording five plate appearances without a hit, he was released on June 4, 1966.
In a 16-season career, Thomas posted a .266 batting average with 286 home runs and 962 RBIs in 1766 games. He was larger than the average player of his time, and known for his opinionated nature. One of his nicknames as a player was "The Big Donkey."
Thomas and his wife, Dolores, were married for over 60 years and had eight children before he became a widower. He has 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.