Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pirates and Original Mate star Frank Thomas passes away

NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Frank Thomas, a three-time All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates who later became the lead hitter for the expansion New York Mets, died Monday. He was 93 years old.

Both the teams announced his demise. The Mets said he died Monday morning in Pittsburgh. He did not give the cause of death.

Thomas played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues between 1951 and 1966, the first eight with the city of Pittsburgh, where he was born. He hit .266 with 286 home runs and 962 RBIs.

Known as “The Original”, Thomas arrived at Citi Field in late August when the Mets hosted the first Old-Timers Day in 28 years.

“This is my last adventure with baseball,” he said that day.

Playing primarily outfield and third base, Thomas was an All-Star with the National League in 1954, ’55, and ’58, when he had a career-high 35 home runs, 109 RBIs, and an .863 OPS.

Thomas was sent to Cincinnati in January 1959 and later to the Cubs and Braves. In November 1961 he was sent to the fledgling Mets and Thomas hit in the franchise’s first game on April 11, 1962, in St. Louis.

He finished that season with 34 homers and 94 RBI, the most in any category for a team that was marred by a record 120 game losing streak under manager Casey Stengel.

Those numbers were franchise records for home runs until 1975 and for RBIs until 1970.

New York sent Thomas to the Phillies in August 1964, and he also played with the Astros before ending his career with the Cubs in 1966.

At the age of 93, he took part in Old-Timers’ Day last summer.

“I am grateful that my father was able to go,” his daughter, Maryanne Paconi, said in a statement to the Mets. “It meant the world wanted to see his old teammates for him.”

Thomas was preceded in death by his wife, Dolores, and their daughter, Shannon. Pirates said he is survived by his children Joanne Harrison, Patty Cain, Frankie Thomas, Peter Thomas, Maryann Paconi, Paul Thomas and Mark Thomas.

Nation World News Desk
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