"Mark said he was really lonely," Thomas' mother Rene Thomas told The Oak Leaf that October. "Going down there, he knew no one. It was tough at first. Plus, with the heat and humidity in Florida, he lost 10 pounds."
Thomas played that first year between the rookie Gulf Coast League and short-season Watertown. He went on to play five seasons. His mother never got the chance describe her son making the bigs. He never made AA.
Thomas' career began that year in 1987, taken by the Pirates in the sixth round of the draft out of Santa Rosa.
Thomas got into 50 games his first year with the Pirates between Watertown and the GCL. He hit .253, with six home runs and 28 RBI.
He played at rookie Princeton in 1988. He hit .236, with 13 home runs. He doubled in a run in a June game and hit his 11th home run on a two-hit night in August.
The outfielder played one more season with the Pirates at short-season Welland and single-A Augusta. He hit .240 in 64 games. He knocked a three-run double in a June game for Augusta.
Thomas moved to the Mets system and single-A Columbia for 1990. He hit .233 over 110 games. He went 4 for 5, with two home runs in and April game. Thomas then played 1991 at high-A St. Lucie. He hit .218 in 84 games to end his career.
- Santa Rosa Oak Leaf, Oct. 22, 1987: Ex-Bear Cub's shot at the pros
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,936
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5+ Seasons in the Majors: 451
10+ Seasons in the Minors:271