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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Tommy Mitchell saw six pro seasons, never wanted to leave game

Thomas Mitchell 1990 Erie Sailors card

Tommy Mitchell's career didn't go the route of his brother Kevin Mitchell's, but Tommy Mitchell kept playing, The Reno Gazette-Journal wrote.

He even went into semi-pro ball, before getting pulled back to the pros by his manager at short-season Erie and high-A Reno, Mal Fichman, The Gazette-Journal wrote. He played when he didn't have to.

"The guy has played hurt all season," Fishman told The Gazette-Journal in August 1991. "He has torn cartilage on both sides of his right knee. Most other guys would have spent the entire season watching soap operas But not Tommy. He never wants to leave the game."

Mitchell by that point had seen time in six pro seasons. That season at Reno proved his last. He topped out at high-A.

Mitchell's career began in 1983, signed by the Astros as an undrafted free agent out of his native San Diego. Mitchell was also credited as Thomas Mitchell.

Mitchell started with the Astros at short-season Auburn. He saw 70 games and hit .264. He then moved to single-A Daytona Beach and single-A Asheville for 1984. He hit .269 between them in 130 games. He also stole 20 bases.

He played 1985 at Asheville and single-A Osceola. For 1986, he moved to the Tigers and single-A Lakeland and single-A Gastonia. 

Mitchell then spent three seasons away before returning to the pros and the Fichman-led short-season co-op Erie. He hit .239 in 70 games there.

Mitchell followed Fichman to Reno for 1991. He hit a game-winning double in an April game. Then, in an early August game, he hit two solo home runs in a 2-1 win, The Gazette-Journal wrote.

"It felt good to have a game like this," Mitchell told The Gazette-Journal. "All season I've been playing hurt. The only thing I'm going to worry about now is swinging the bat."

Mitchell got into 119 games that year for Reno. He hit .265. That season marked his last as a pro.

Thomas Mitchell 1990 Erie Sailors card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,233
Made the Majors:1,385-32.7%
Never Made Majors:2,848-67.3%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:562
10+ Seasons in the Minors:345

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