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Friday, June 4, 2021

Mike Thomas went from small college to the majors - for one appearance; Saw seven pro seasons

In his seventh pro season in July 1995, Mike Thomas got his call to the majors, to the Brewers. He learned about it from his manager, after a call to the office, his old college coach relayed to The Parsons Sun in Kansas. 

"It might be for one day, or 10 days, or whatever. They didn't tell him," Labette Community College head coach Tom Hilton told The Sun after speaking with Thomas. "That's pretty good for a player from little old Labette Community College."

For Thomas, his stint in the majors ended up being several days, amounting to a single big league appearance over that time. That appearance turned out to be his only on in the majors.

Thomas' career began in 1989, taken by the Mets in the 23rd round of the draft out of Labette in Parsons, Kan.

At Labette, Thomas threw a six-inning one-hit shutout in a windy April 1989 win, The Sun wrote.

"It was kind of a tough day to pitch," Thomas told The Sun. "The wind was holding my fastball up and making the curve hang. I was glad to get the strikeouts. I'm used to getting a lot, so it was good to get them again."

Thomas started with the Mets in the rookie Gulf Coast League and at rookie Kingsport. He went 3-2 over 14 outings, six starts on the year, with a 3.38 ERA5.

He moved to short-season Pittsfield for 1990, then single-A Columbia to start the season. In 30 relief outings, he saved 15.

The Mets then traded him to the Expos in a trade that centered on Ron Darling. Assigned to single-A Sumter, he told The Sumter Item the situations he liked the most, the tough ones.

"I like coming in with the bases loaded and none out or runners on second and third and none out, get three outs and have nobody score," Thomas told The Item. "I love that challenge; it gets me pumped up. I've always liked that. I've had people tell me that I pitch better when I'm under pressure."

He moved to single-A Rockford for 1992, then saw AA Harrisburg in 1993. Granted free agency, he signed with the Brewers for 1994, where he played at AA El Paso.

He made AAA New Orleans to start 1995. Then, in July, he got his call to Milwaukee. His one appearance came July 12. He went four outs in relief. He gave up two hits, but no runs. 

By July 19, Thomas' major league career had ended, placed on the disabled list with a neck strain.

That season marked Thomas' last as a pro.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,665
Made the Majors:1,253-34.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,412-65.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:522
10+ Seasons in the Minors:308

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