Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today's African American fact from baseball's "Golden Era" - Valmy Thomas

Although born on October 21, 1925 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Valmy Thomas was the first Major League player from the Virgins Island.  His mother had gone to Puerto Rico only to receive better medical care during Valmy’s birth.  She returned home to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands immediately after he was born.

Although signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951, Thomas played mostly on semi-professional Caribbean teams while in his 20s.  The 5’9”, 165 pound catcher also displayed his talents against Major League and Negro League players in Caribbean winter league games.  When Thomas was 31 years old he made his Major League debut in 1957 with the New York Giants.

When the Giants moved to San Francisco the next season, Thomas was the starting catcher in their home opener on April 15th at Seals Stadium.  He walked three times and scored two runs in the team’s 8 – 0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.  It was also the Dodgers first league game in California after moving from Brooklyn.

After being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies before the 1959 season, Thomas spent the last two years of his Major League career with American League teams;   Baltimore Orioles (1960) and Cleveland Indians (1961).

 Who was Valmy Thomas’ Giant roommate that became President of the National League?

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