Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1976 Topps #493 - Derrel Thomas

  • Derrel Thomas played just about every position and it seemed like he played for just about every team. Thomas was the first player drafted (by the Houston Astros) in the 1969 draft. Derrel played in the minors from 1969-1971 and was called up by the Astros at the end of the 1971 season (he was 0 for 5 in five games). 
  • After the 1971 season the Astros traded Thomas (along with Bill Greif and Mark Schaeffer) to the San Diego Padres for Dave Roberts. Derrel played second base and also saw quite a  bit of time at shortstop in 1972 and batted .230 in 130 games. Thomas played in 113 games (.238 average) in 1973 at second base (his natural position) and shortstop. In 1974 Derrel batted .247 in 141 games and hit a career-high 24 doubles. After the 1974 season Thomas was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Butch Metzger and Tito Fuentes.
  • Derrel was the starting second baseman for the Giants in 1975 and batted .276 with 28 stolen bases (both career highs) in 144 games. Thomas missed 2 1/2 months of the 1976 season (early July-mid September) and batted .232 in 81 games. In 1977 Thomas played 70 games in center field and about 20 games each at 2B and SS. He batted .267 in 148 games and hit 10 triples (a career high). After the 1977  Thomas was traded back to the Padres for Mike Ivie.
  • In 1978 Thomas was used as a "super sub," playing just about everywhere. Derrel would be used in this manner for the rest of his career (except 1979). He batted .227 in 128 games in 1978. After the season Thomas became a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (his hometown team).
  • Derrel was the starting center fielder for most of the 1979 season. He batted .256 in 141 games in '79. In 1980 he returned to a utility role and batted .266 in 117 games.
  • Thomas batted .248 in 80 games in 1981. He saw action off the bench in each of the playoff rounds in 1981 for the World Champion Dodgers.
  • Derrel batted .265 in 66 games in 1982 and .250 in 118 games in 1983. After the 1983 season Derrel became a free agent and signed with the Montreal Expos.
  • Thomas batted .255 in 108 games for the Expos in 1984. He was sold to the California Angels on September 6, 1984 and he batted .138 in 14 games for the Angels to finish the 1984 season. Thomas became a free agent after the 1984 season but wasn't signed by any major league team. 
  • He started the 1985 season playing for the class A Florida Marlins. On May 15 he was sold to the Philadelphia Phillies and Thomas batted .207 in 63 games. Derrel was mentioned during the Curtis Strong cocaine trial in 1985 but wasn't called to testify. He was summoned to a January 1986 meeting with Commissioner Peter Ueberroth and was required to take random urinalysis tests in order to keep his playing status. Thomas tried to hook up with the minor league San Jose Bees in 1986 but was cut before the season for disciplinary reasons.
  • Thomas managed the Boise Hawks (an independent minor league team) in 1987 but was fired after 37 games when the team was 9-28. After that Thomas coached high school baseball and managed a bar at night. Thomas resigned as the coach of Leuzinger High School in 1989 after a walkout by nine players. Thomas had drug and financial problems that got him in trouble. He served 47 days in prison after pleading no contest to cocaine charges.
  • Derrel is now a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legends Bureau.
  • Liked to face: Vern Ruhle (.636 in 11 AB); Gary Gentry (.526 in 19 AB); Bill Bonham (.464 in 28 AB)
  • Hated to face: Larry McWilliams (.000 in 15 AB); Wayne Twitchell (.040 in 25 AB); Mark Lemongello (.043 in 23 AB)


  1. I saw him play at candelstick as a Giant.Made incredible plays in center field.Funny I always thought he did hard time like 7 years in prison.Thanks for clearing that up 47 days in prison is better then 7 years................