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Pirates ’50s Star ‘Original’ Frank Thomas Dies at 93

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Former Pittsburgh Pirates star Frank Thomas, often referred to as the Original Frank Thomas, has died. He was 93.

The Pirates announced Thomas’ death on Monday in a news release but did provide give a cause of death or when he died.

Thomas broke into the major league with the Pirates in 1951, four years after the Pittsburgh native signed with the organization.

The outfielder/corner infielder spent eight seasons with the Pirates and was selected to three All-Star Games before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds following the 1958 season. He also received MVP votes in four different seasons with the Pirates, his highest finish being fourth in ’58.

The outfielder/corner infielder played only one season for the Reds then moved on to the Chicago Cubs (1960-61, 1966), Milwaukee Braves (1961, 1965), New York Mets (1962-64), Philadelphia Phillies (1964-65) and Houston Astros (1965).

Thomas hit .266/.320/.454 in his career with 286 home runs in 1,766 games.

“Frank was proud to call the city of Pittsburgh home not only as a member of the Pirates but also as a person who spent his entire life here,” Pirates club president Travis Williams said in a statement. “He was also a proud family man who was always involved with our alumni association events.”

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Thomas became known as the Original Frank Thomas after the slugger of the same name began establishing himself as a star player in the 1990s. The younger Thomas was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

The elder Thomas was preceded in death by his wife Dolores, and daughter Sharon. He is survived by his children Joanne Harrison, Patty Cain, Frankie Thomas, Peter Thomas, Maryanne Pacconi, Paul Thomas and Mark Thomas.

 

John Perrotto is a columnist for Pittsburgh Baseball Now and has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates and MLB since 1988.

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