Bud Thomas

Thomas lost regularly as a starter for Connie Mack‘s tailenders in 1937 and ’38. On April 23, 1939, the righty faced a young Ted Williams at Shibe Park. Mack instructed Thomas not to feed Williams fastballs, but the young Splinter ripped Thomas’ changeup for the first home run of his career. Just before Williams retired in 1950 with 521 round-trippers, he sent Thomas an autographed photo inscribed, “To Bud”.

Soon after surrendering the Williams homer, Thomas arrived in Detroit on waivers after a brief stint with the Senators. He won seven straight in relief and stayed with the Tigers through 1941.

“Bud Thomas loved baseball but he was always a farmer at heart,” read the obituary in the local Charlottesville, VA newspaper when Thomas passed away on May 19, 2001 at the age of 90. Said one of his grandsons: “He liked to prove that he could cut corn faster than one of the hired hands, a big, strong German man. He was still working, feeding the calves, until he was in his 80s and then finally decided to take it easy.” When Thomas first signed with the A’s in 1933, he used the $5,600 bonus to buy 98 acres of farmland in rural Virginia.