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Saturday, July 29, 2023

Delvin Thomas chose pro baseball over college football; Saw four seasons, made high-A

Delvin Thomas 1990 Peninsula Pilots card

Coming out of high school, Delvin Thomas had a scholarship to go to the University of Arkansas - a football scholarship. Instead, he chose baseball and the Seattle Mariners.

In July 1991, in his fourth pro baseball season, Thomas spoke to The San Bernardino County Sun about his choice.

"At first I was undecided about where I was going," Thomas told The Sun. "I came up with baseball. It's a risk you have to take. I still like football. I figure I have another way out, if baseball doesn't work out."

For Thomas, however, his baseball career was soon over. He played those four seasons and made high-A. And and that other way does not appear to have materialized.

Thomas' baseball career began in 1988, taken by the Mariners in the 18th round of the draft out of M.B. Smiley High School in Houston.

In January 1988, Thomas was a high schooler looking to make his collegiate choice, school and sport. His football coach Lee Spencer talked up his talents in all aspects to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"Delvin has just got natural ability," Spencer told The Star-Telegram. "He's got God-given talent and is a smart kid as far as book knowledge. I think if we had a hockey team he'd be just as good at that."

With the Mariners, Thomas started in the rookie Arizona League. He hit .275 in 31 games. He then saw single-A Wausau and the Arizona League again in 1989. He hit .209 over 60 games that year.

For 1990, he played at high-A Peninsula. His average dipped to .194 in 84 contests. He then landed at high-A San Bernardino for 1991. He saw 124 games there and hit .229. That season proved his last as a pro.

Delvin Thomas 1990 Peninsula Pilots card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,195
Made the Majors:1,378-32.9%
Never Made Majors:2,817-67.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:560
10+ Seasons in the Minors:344

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