A big, lumberjack-like slugger, Thomas was a premier outfielder until undergoing
rotator-cuff surgery in 1984. He was the first player ever picked by the Seattle
Pilots in the June 1969 draft. A two-time minor league home run champion, Thomas's
frequent strikeouts and low batting average kept him from a steady major league job
until 1978. The strikeouts continued (478 from 1978 to 1980), but his homers increased.
Defensively, Thomas had fine range and never feared the fences. A controversial trade,
disastrous for Milwaukee, sent Thomas to Cleveland in 1983. At Seattle, Thomas made
a brilliant comeback in 1985 but became relegated to DH and first base duty.