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Frank Thomas
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Frank Thomas
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Frank Thomas
Frank Thomas
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 57 of 1043 players
Frank Joseph Thomas
Born: June 11, 1929 at Pittsburgh, Pa.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.03 Weight: 205

Frank Thomas was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on December 1, 2005, May 6, 2009, August 29, 2010, December 29, 2011, January 14, 2012, December 16, 2013, March 15, 2015, January 26, 2016, and August 1, 2016.

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First Mets game: April 11, 1962
Last Mets game: August 5, 1964

Share your memories of Frank Thomas


Joseph F. Thomas
February 3, 2001
Frank Thomas is one of the main reasons why I became a Mets fan. Although a he spent a majority of his career as a Buc I always think of him as a Met. The last time I saw Frank was at the Old Timers game in SF at Candlestick Park. He avoided talking too much about baseball but did mention the time he humbled a cocky pitcher by catching his fastball barehanded. I never knew how much of an influence he had on baseball in his time, but enjoy hearing stories of his career. Oh yeah the Richie Allen incident was a result of a 2nd year rookie popping his mouth off.

Joe Figliola
August 6, 2001
Frank Thomas not only was an original Met, but he also was the original "Big Hurt."

Although I was way too young to see him play, I remember as a preteen being impressed with his then-Met record of 34 home runs in one season. Keep in mind that I grew up in the seventies, when any Met player who cracked 15 home runs in one season was considered a big deal.

This Richie Allen incident intrigues me. I never heard of it. Can someone offer some light on the subject please? Thanks.

January 30, 2002
As I recall, the "Richie Allen incident" was not on Richie Allen--it was on Thomas.

Richie was taking cuts in the batting cage prior to a game, when Thomas made some disparaging--if not racial--remarks to Allen. Allen supposedly ignored him until Thomas went too far. That's when Allen went off on him. Apparently, Allen got the better of the ex-Met, as a photo of Thomas appeared soon after in a New York newspaper of him bleeding and with a bandage on his forehead.

As a result of that situation, Thomas was either traded or sold (I think sold) to Houston by the end of that week or the next.

Joe Figliola
February 21, 2002
Thanks, Charles, for detailing the Allen-Thomas incident. I guess Richie Allen put the "big hurt" on Frank. How unfortunate. Hopefully, Frank learned his lesson about badmouthing others.

I also know Thomas suffered a humbling experience years later when his house burned down and he lost a very valuable collection of Topps cards. I read that fans from throughout the country sent him cards to help replace what he lost. I wonder if Richie Allen contributed with a couple of those cool 1973 Topps cards of him with his Afro and shades.

rich edwards
March 14, 2002
The original Big Donkey was made for the Polo Grounds. He pulled everything. Casey one time yelled at him in the batters box "if you want to be a sailor join the Navy." No one knew what he meant. Turns out in the leftfield corner on the wall was a sign that promised a free boat to a batter who could hit the sign. One of his claims to fame was that he could catch anyones fastball barehanded! I hear he won a lot of bets doing it.

Joseph F. Thomas
July 25, 2002
I am not sure as to where Mr. Charles obtained his information regarding the Allen incident and since my information is straight from my uncle I am sure that it may be a one-sided story. However, I am well aware of several other incidents that Richie had with teammates and do recall seeing a picture of Mr. Allen the next day looking like Tyson after his fight with Lewis. Frank Thomas is in no way a racist, so I am sure the words chosen were most likely in response to equally racial slang thrown his way by Mr. Allen. Painting a clearer picture.

Bob Salo
August 7, 2002
Frank Thomas is a GREAT guy! The whole Rich Allen thing was blown out of proportion by the media. Frank is a teaser and loves to razz people. I know because he does it to me! Joseph, you have a great uncle in Frank and your Aunt Dolores is wonderful, too! Frank is the most under rated player I know. A three time all-star, Frank is known for his days on mostly poor Pirate teams, but the Bucs traded him for players that helped win the World Series in 1960. He got traded a lot and just missed hitting 300 homers in his career by a small margin. Should at least be in N.Y. Mets hall of fame if not in Cooperstown!

August 22, 2002
To Joseph Thomas, I don't mean to offend at all; but I would like to call your attention to a paper that was written by a gentleman named William Kashatus titled, Dick Allen, The Phillies, and Racism. (PDF file)

Pages 14-17 of the 41-page paper gives an account of what went down. Though my memory of it was a little off as to how exactly it went down (give me a pass--I was only 10!), the gist of the paper describes what set the incident off. Unfortunate circumstance nonetheless, all the way around.

In my previous post, I stated that Thomas was sold to Houston after the incident. I had that slightly wrong, too. He was first sold (the same week of the incident) to Milwaukee, then to Houston 2-3 days later.

August 24, 2002
I was at the second game ever played at Shea, in 1964 (I was 6 years old); if I remember correctly, Frank Thomas hit a home run in that game, and it was the first to be hit by a Met at Shea. Is this memory accurate, or a phantom?

Bob S.
February 6, 2003
I have been meaning to post this for a while, but have not had the chance. In response to RB yes, Frank did hit the first HR at Shea and he also hit the first ever pinch hit HR ever by a Met. He's a great guy and was a pretty darn good player in his day.

June 1, 2003
Frank Thomas "The Big Donkey" hit 34 home runs with the 62 Mets. This was no small feat considering that lineup. He had the perfect swing for the Polo Grounds. In 1964 I recall Thomas in the first game at Shea after the All Star game hitting a pinch home run off Curt Simmons to win a game. In 1964, I also recall Thomas getting involved in an altercation with a Phillies baserunner in the second game of a doubleheader that precipitated a bench clearing brawl. A few weeks later the Mets sent him to the Phillies where he witnessed one of the greatest collapses by a team down the stretch in baseball history.

Larry Burns
June 5, 2003
This guy was the first thing the Mets had to a true star. He was able to generate power and excitement amongst some pretty lousy teams. Heard he got the nickname "The Donkey" because he was built like Milton Berle, but it changed because he was a power hitter.

June 5, 2003
One interesting thing about Frank Thomas in '62...his 34 homers actually were the most by any New York player that year. Yep, even more than Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris (who was coming off his 61 homer season).

Bobby Hurte
December 31, 2004
I consider Frank Thomas "The Original One" a dear friend since January 1992. I met Frank at the Pittsburgh Pirates Dream Week. Both Kent Tekulve and he were my coaches. I have enjoyed a continuous correspondous with him ever since. Frank has filled a dream that a sickly 9 year old had 38 years ago. I use to write to ballplayers and wished for a personal letter and I was lucky to receive an autograph picture, sometimes with name. Frank replies immediately to my letters and is proud that he always answered his own fan mail. Last May, my 11 year old son and I were in Pittsburgh and stopped to visit with Frank. He gave my son some hitting tips, which no one can ever take away.

I have met Richie (Dick) Allen and he is one of the most rude ex-players of all time. He should be a quarter as nice as Frank!

Frank Thomas
December 16, 2005
Since the Ultimate Mets Database website is obviously directed at the fans of the New York Mets, many of you already know who I am. But for you younger fans whose Mets recollections may not go back 40 years, I played with the Mets from their inception in 1962 until I was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on August 7th, 1964. I had a pretty good run with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1950s, and I also had some success with the Cubs, Braves and Phillies, but some of my fondest memories come from my time with the Mets.

New York really missed National League baseball following the departure of the Giants and Dodgers after the 1957 season, and the 1962 expansion Mets was just what the doctor ordered to fill the void. Our results on the field were historically bad and the media made fun of us, but we were good for the game of baseball. Our fans were so happy to have National League baseball back in New York that we could do no wrong in their eyes. They were truly the best fans in baseball.

The 1962 season was a study in contrast for me. It was frustrating to have the team play so poorly and lose so many games, but I personally had one of the best years of my career. I hit 34 home runs in 1962, a club record that stood for years until Dave Kingman finally broke it in 1975. Considering Maris' 61 homers and Mantle's 54 in 1961, no one ever imagined that a guy named Frank Thomas would lead all of New York in home runs in 1962, but that's what happened as Maris dropped to 33 and Mantle fell to 30. I really enjoyed that.

I loved playing on the big stage of New York because it's a great sports city. I also loved being in New York for other reasons. My wife Dolores and I had a large family, and there was an endless array of great things for us and our children to do in New York.

The 1964 World's Fair was particularly fun for my kids. It was conducted very near the brand new Shea Stadium, and my kids seemed to go there every day.

In New York I also enjoyed the benefits of celebrity that were much less prevalent in the other cities I had played -- benefits like discounts, endorsements, favors and simple on-the-street recognition. Still, the baseball was the best part, though.

I loved playing at the old Polo Grounds because it was perfectly suited to my right-handed power pull hitting style. Casey Stengel was great to play for, and we had a real interesting bunch of guys play for us during my time with the Mets. Richie Ashburn, Don Zimmer, Choo Choo Coleman, Jimmy Piersall, Marv Throneberry, Sherman Jones, Gus Bell, Al Jackson, Roger Craig, Joe Christopher, and so many more. They were all guys that enriched my experience with the Mets.

My years with Mets are chronicled in detail in my new book, "Kiss It Goodbye: The Frank Thomas Story". I hope you'll order it because there's a lot in it for Mets fans. 100 of my book's 500 pages are dedicated to my years with the Mets, and I know you'll enjoy reading about them.

Bob Schwartz
January 7, 2006
My first Met games were in April, 1963, at the Polo Grounds. I was a Braves fan then, and my dad bought us tickets for an entire Mets-Braves series. It was the first time the Mets ever swept a series, and boy did I get razzed by my friends the next week.

Back then, you could just walk out on the field as soon as the game was over and run around the bases, slide into home, or go into the dugouts and hunt for souvenirs. Security wasn't like it is now. And I always did that, not only at baseball parks but also at Madison Square Garden. Over the years, I've been inside the Milwaukee Braves dressing room at Shea and the Minneapolis Lakers dressing room at the Garden.

Anyway, at the Polo Grounds, the locker rooms were way out beyond center field, and if you waited out behind the center field fence at the end of the games, you could get players' autographs as they left the park. Frank Thomas was a real gentleman. No matter how many kids were lined up for autographs, he always stayed as long as it took to give an autograph to every kid who was waiting. I've never forgotten that.

On the Saturday of that long ago weekend, when the Mets scored a 3-1 victory over the Braves and Warren Spahn (my favorite pitcher), I went into the dugout after the game and took the lineup, presumably in Casey Stengel's handwriting, right off the dugout wall. Later, I got the autographs of Roger Craig, Tim Harkness, Norm Sherry, and Frank Thomas on it, and many years later I donated that lineup and those autographs to the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, in exchange for which they gave me a lifetime pass.

August 19, 2006
Frank Thomas was truly a stand out player for the Mets in their infancy, especially the Polo Grounds years, and by all accounts a decent guy as well. I recall reading that on road trip flights he would help the stewardesses serve meals. One correction however. I believe that Ron Hunt hit the first Met home run at Shea Stadium.

Leigh Spigelman
August 19, 2006
My memory of Frank Thomas was firmly tied to the desertion of NY by the Brooklyn Dodgers. I vowed, as only a nine year old Dodger fan could, to never root for another National League team again. So I became a die hard Yankee fan, that is until Frank Thomas and the Mets showed up at the old Polo Grounds. He and the rest of Stengal's cast of characters won me over instantly. However, Frank was my favorite! I can still remember Frank's singular batting stance, with the bat raised well above his chest. I also must admit that the fog of time has made it impossible for me to pick out any one "Frank Thomas' Moment", but it warms my heart to read on this page that Frank was more than deserving of my adulation, both on and off the field.

February 12, 2008
To our group of 12 year old Mets fans in 1962, Frank Thomas and Marv Throneberry were the "T n T" boys (our answer to the Yankee fans' "M & M" duo). In stickball games on 213th Street in Queens Village, we all tried to imitate Thomas' batting stance.

One interesting fact about Thomas, that jumped off the pages during our research on his pre-Mets NL career, is that Thomas appears to have been the regular centerfielder on one team.

Our reference book for the centerfielder comment is currently in a storage shed, so we can't be more definitive right now.

Paul Cillo
April 24, 2009
My first major league game was at the Polo Grounds and Frank Thomas ran into the fence and knocked himself out. Can anyone tell me the date of my first baseball game?

May 12, 2011
I've heard many stories about Frank Thomas, his challenge to catch any pitcher in the league bare-handed, his altercation with Richie Allen, etc. He was no doubt a tough guy. My uncle (dead many years now) once told me a story about how Frank and another Pirate teammate (possibly Dick Stuart, possibly Jerry Lynch, possibly Don Hoak, I just don't remember) during a particularly testy game when some pitchers were deliberately throwing at batters and Frank and this teammate walked over to the other team's dugout and basically called the whole team out. Nobody came out. I wanna say it was against the Phillies, but I believe the Phillies had Clay Darymple at the time, an ex-boxer, so I don't think that was the opponent. Curious if anybody can recall that game, who the opponent was and who the teammate was? I believe it may have happened during a road game on TV.

Jonathan Stern
October 19, 2011
I am surprised that neither Frank Thomas nor anyone else has mentioned the infamous "Yo la tengo" incident involving Thomas, Elio Chacon, and Richie Ashburn. And why did Thomas insist on serving his teammates meals on plane flights?

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