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  • Derrel Thomas

    When I was in San Diego, in 1978, the Padres has a utility player named Derrel Thomas. He would play 2nd, 3rd or short, but when he really amazed, was in centerfield. The Padres would play Winfield in CF and Oscar Gamble in rf. In late innings they would move Winfield to RF and put Thomas in CF.

    Thomas was so good in CF, it was unbelievable. He would make basket catches just for fun. He could run down anything and had a better arm than Winfield.

    He was the #1 pick in the 1969 draft. He played inf for the Padres and Giants, until the Giants moved him to CF, in 1977. He was a decent 2B in 1975. I saw him play at Wrigley that year and he made an great diving grab of a liner. He came back to San Diego for 1 year , in 1978.

    It's seems like because he was a defensive specialist, people forgot him. Maybe in my older years, I remember his defense being better than it was, but I thought that he was just as a fabulous centerfielder. I saw him play a lot in 1978. The Dodgers signed him in 1979, just as a defensive specialist.

    Did anyone else see him play centerfield?
    This week's Giant

    #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

  • #2
    I remember Derrel Thomas as a Dodger. For years every time I saw Thomas play the announcers would say sometime in the near future Thomas will play all nine positions in a single game. But I don't think he ever did but I'm not sure.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      --In the sim league I am in here at BBF (Classic Keeper League) we are up to 1981. I had Thomas on my team most for the 1970s and he managed to get plenty of playing time as either a platoon guy or super sub. The game engineers had him as merely serviceable in the IF, but did see him as a very good outfielder with a great arm (and very quick on the bases).

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      • #4
        Originally posted by leecemark View Post
        --In the sim league I am in here at BBF (Classic Keeper League) we are up to 1981. I had Thomas on my team most for the 1970s and he managed to get plenty of playing time as either a platoon guy or super sub. The game engineers had him as merely serviceable in the IF, but did see him as a very good outfielder with a great arm (and very quick on the bases).
        He had a super throwing arm.
        This week's Giant

        #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JR Hart View Post
          When I was in San Diego, in 1978, the Padres has a utility player named Derrel Thomas. He would play 2nd, 3rd or short, but when he really amazed, was in centerfield. The Padres would play Winfield in CF and Oscar Gamble in rf. In late innings they would move Winfield to RF and put Thomas in CF.

          Thomas was so good in CF, it was unbelievable. He would make basket catches just for fun. He could run down anything and had a better arm than Winfield.

          He was the #1 pick in the 1969 draft. He played inf for the Padres and Giants, until the Giants moved him to CF, in 1977. He was a decent 2B in 1975. I saw him play at Wrigley that year and he made an great diving grab of a liner. He came back to San Diego for 1 year , in 1978.

          It's seems like because he was a defensive specialist, people forgot him. Maybe in my older years, I remember his defense being better than it was, but I thought that he was just as a fabulous centerfielder. I saw him play a lot in 1978. The Dodgers signed him in 1979, just as a defensive specialist.

          Did anyone else see him play centerfield?
          Yes, I saw him used exactly as you have described. In 2003 I worked at Fenway park as a bartender. Grady Little used Darrell Jackson as a 2nd. sacker when Derek Lowe was pitching instead of Todd Walker. Lowe was/is an extreme ground ball pitcher. Jackson also filled in in RF and did some pinch running. Darrell threw very well and was a valuable utility player for the Sox in 2003. Darrell and Derrel!

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          • #6
            My only memory is Thomas is of him being held up as an example of a player who did not hit as well as he "should have" because he had a big swing and appeared to be trying to put the ball into the seats all the time, but didn't have the power to pull it off. I don't know if that's a fair assessment, but the name and criticism stuck in my head. Although he was a fan of the man, Bill James made a similar comment about Fred Patek (who was quite a bit smaller than Thomas).
            "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
              My only memory is Thomas is of him being held up as an example of a player who did not hit as well as he "should have" because he had a big swing and appeared to be trying to put the ball into the seats all the time, but didn't have the power to pull it off. I don't know if that's a fair assessment, but the name and criticism stuck in my head. Although he was a fan of the man, Bill James made a similar comment about Fred Patek (who was quite a bit smaller than Thomas).
              I totally agree. Thomas had a big swing with not much of a result. A good batting coach may have helped him. OH, but what a CF and what an arm!
              This week's Giant

              #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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