Thames coaching the Tampa Yankees in 2013
March 6, 1977 |
|June 10, 2002 for the New York Yankees|
Last MLB appearance
|July 6, 2011 for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||301|
Marcus Markley Thames (// TIMZ) (born March 6, 1977) is a former American professional baseball outfielder. He played for the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
For his career, Thames has averaged a home run every 15.4 at-bats. If he had the requisite 3,000 qualifying plate appearances, he would have the 10th best home run to at bat ratio among active players (25th all time). He also reached 100 home runs in 1,549 at-bats which is fewer than any other player with 100 home runs. Thames holds the Tigers franchise record for average at-bats per home run, at 14.8.
First stint with the Yankees
Thames warranted "prospect" status from the Yankees following a standout 2001 season for the AA affiliate Norwich Navigators, in which he batted .321 with 31 home runs and 97 runs batted in. For his efforts he was named to the Baseball America minor league all-star team.
On June 10, 2002, Thames began his major league career with a bang as he was the 80th player in history to hit a home run in his first at bat. Thames hit the home run off the first pitch he saw from Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks. As his coaches and teammates were laughing in amazement, Thames stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call to a capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium.
Thames was granted free-agency on October 15 and signed with the Detroit Tigers on December 7.
The next two seasons saw Thames splitting time between the Tigers and their AAA affiliate Toledo Mud Hens. While dominating the AAA level, he found it difficult to crack the outfield rotation in place with the parent club. However, in 2006 Thames made his first opening day roster with the blessing of new manager Jim Leyland. Playing sparsely early in the season, he soon seized his opportunity for extended playing time due to injuries to Dmitri Young and Craig Monroe. Although he suffered through a slump near the end of the season, Thames was a key component to the Tigers vast improvement in the 2006 season. He set career highs in every offensive category, hitting .256 with 26 home runs and 60 RBIs in only 348 at-bats, finishing with a solid .882 OPS. Infamously nicknamed "Country Strong" by Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen.
On July 1, 2007, Thames hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to score the only run in the game in a victory over the Minnesota Twins. On July 6, he hit the third grand slam of his career at Comerica Park against the Boston Red Sox. On July 8, Thames hit one of the longest home runs in the history of Comerica Park. Batting against pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Red Sox, Thames hit a home run to deep center field that bounced off the camera area. The last Tiger to hit a home run to that area was Eric Munson in 2004.
Thames hit eight home runs in seven consecutive games from June 11 to June 17, 2008, becoming the first Tiger in team history to achieve that feat. During that streak, eight consecutive hits were home runs.
On August 9, 2009, Thames hit his 100th career home run. He was released from the Tigers at the end of the season.
Second stint with the Yankees
Thames began the season platooning in left field with Brett Gardner, but was soon moved to a bench role because of his poor defense and Gardner's ability to hit left-handed pitchers. Thames would see more regular starts in left when Curtis Granderson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, as well as a few starts in right field when Nick Swisher was sidelined with an injury. However, in the latter part of the season, he rarely played the outfield, especially after the acquisition of Austin Kearns.
He hit .288 with 12 home runs in 82 games. Although he usually only started against left-handed pitchers, Thames came through with several big hits in 2010. On May 17, he hit a walk-off home run against Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. On July 4, Thames returned from a DL stint to hit a game-ending single against the Toronto Blue Jays. On August 11, he helped the Yankees come back from a five run deficit by hitting a home run in the eighth inning and a go ahead single in the ninth inning to beat the Rangers. In a six game stretch from August 24 to August 30, he had 6 home runs and 11 RBIs in 21 at-bats.
On July 29, 2010, Thames made his first career appearance at third base (minor leagues included) as a late-inning replacement. He committed a throwing error in his only chance. During the 2010 ALCS, Thames served as the designated hitter when Lance Berkman took over first base and Mark Teixeira went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The Yankees lost the ALCS to the Texas Rangers in 6 games.
Thames elected free agency from the Yankees on November 7, 2010.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Thames signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2011 season. He made 70 appearances for the Dodgers before being designated for assignment on July 12. He had a .197 batting average for Los Angeles. He was released a few days later.
Third stint with the Yankees
His nickname, "Slick", is the result of getting his hair cut too short when he was four years old.
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- Shpigel, Ben (March 1, 2010). "Marcus Thames, Efficient Slugger". The New York Times.
- "Bleacher Report: New York Yankee's Latest Hero: Marcus Thames". LockerPulse. 2010-08-15. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Rookie homers on first pitch in majors -- off the Big Unit!". CNN. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- "Marcus Thames" at Baseball-Reference.com
- Marcus Thames #38 DH (1977-03-06). "Marcus Thames Stats, News, Photos - New York Yankees - ESPN". Scores.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "2006 Detroit Tigers Roster by Baseball Almanac". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Marcus Thames". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- CNN http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/baseball/mlb/07/06/redsox.tigers.ap/index.html
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- By Jason Beck / MLB.com (2008-06-17). "Thames playing, hitting, homering | MLB.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- AP File Photo. "Tigers part ways with outfielder Marcus Thames, catcher Matt Treanor". MLive.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Transactions | yankees.com: Team". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. 2010-09-17. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- Yankees Keep Thames - Lo Hud[dead link]
- "Thames rewarding Yanks for opportunity | yankees.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
- "Transactions". Mlb.mlb.com.
- "Dodgers reach agreement with Marcus Thames, close to signing Gabe Kapler". Los Angeles Times. January 17, 2011.
- Dierkes, Tim. "Dodgers Acquire Juan Rivera; Designate Thames". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- King III, George A. (July 22, 2011). "Damon says opponents respect Yankees' Robertson". New York Post.
- Curry, Jack (October 22, 2006). "Marcus Thames's Mother Inspires and Amazes". The New York Times.
- Sielski, Mike (October 12, 2010). "Thames Is a Situational Success". The Wall Street Journal.
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