Saturday, July 11, 2009

1976 Topps #139 - Gorman Thomas

  • "Stormin' Gorman" was the first player ever taken by the Seattle Pilots in the amateur draft in 1969. He spent the 1969-1972 seasons in the minor leagues. Gorman started the 1973 season with the Milwaukee Brewers but was sent back to the minors in late June. He came back in September but had an underwhelming stat line of .187, 2 HR, 11 RBI in 155 at bats.
  • Thomas played most of the 1974 season for AAA Sacramento. He batted .297 with 51 home runs and also struck out 175 times. Gorman was brought back to the Brewers in September and batted .261 in 17 games.
  • Gorman was used sparingly in 1975. He started off slowly and his batting average bottomed out at .091 on June 4. He became the starting center fielder for the Brewers and his average began a steady climb, peaking at .307 on July 2. Thomas tailed off after that and finished the year below the Mendoza Line (.179 with 10 homers in 227 at bats).
  • Thomas had a similar year in 1976 (.198, 8 HR, 36 RBI in 99 games) and ended up back in the minors in 1977. He had a good year for AAA Spokane in '77 (.322, 36 HR, 114 RBI, 105 BB and 115 SO) and was able to come back to the majors to stay in 1978.
  • The 1978 season was the first of a string of five good power years for Thomas. He hit 32 homers and batted .246 in 137 games. In 1979 Gorman was 7th in MVP voting as he batted .244 and led the AL with 45 home runs. He also had career highs in RBI (123), runs (97), and strikeouts (175). Here is a September 1979 Sports Illustrated article about Gorman.
  • Thomas had another good power year in 1980 (38 homers) but also led the AL for the second year in a row with 170 srikeouts. Gorman was selected to the AL All Star Team in 1981 and he hit 21 home runs in the strike-shortened season.
  • Gorman's last big power year was in 1982. He led the AL with 39 home runs and he knocked in 112 runs. Thomas was 8th in MVP voting that season.
  • Thomas started to slow down in 1983. He played in 46 games and was only batting .183 with 5 home runs when he was traded by the Brewers with Ernie Camacho and Jamie Easterly to the Cleveland Indians for Rick Manning and Rick Waits. Gorman picked it up a bit and ended up with 22 home runs for the season.
  • After the 1983 season Gorman was traded to the Seattle Mariners. Thomas had rotator cuff surgery in 1984 and he didn't do a whole lot (.157 with 1 home run in 108 AB). But Thomas had his last good year in 1985 (32 home runs but a .215 average in 137 games) as a designated hitter.
  • Gorman played part of the 1986 season with the Mariners (.194 with 10 homers in 57 games) and was released on June 25. The Brewers picked him up on July 16 and he finished the season (.179 with 6 homers). Thomas was released by the Brewers after the 1986 season.
  • Gorman Thomas now works under a personal services contract with the Brewers and makes appearances. He also greets visitors at Gorman's Grill at Miller Park.

This is a video of Thomas talking about the Brewers' 2007 playoff chances and reminiscing about the 1982 team:

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