Chester David "Pinch" Thomas
January 24, 1888|
Camp Point, Illinois
|Died: December 24, 1953
|April 24, 1912, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 19, 1921, for the Cleveland Indians|
|Career highlights and awards|
Chester David Thomas (January 24, 1888 – December 24, 1953) was a backup catcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1912 through 1921 for the Boston Red Sox (1912–17) and Cleveland Indians (1918–21). Listed at 5 ft 9.5 in (1.77 m), 173 lb., Thomas batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was born in Camp Point, Illinois.
The Red Sox signed Thomas in 1911 but allowed him to play the 1911 season with the Sacramento Sacts before recalling him to the Major Leagues for the 1912 season. He spent the 1912 season as a little-used backup catcher for 1912 World Series championship Red Sox.
A fine defensive replacement, Thomas was the primary catcher for the Red Sox during three years, helping them to the World Championship in 1915 and 1916. In 1917 he led American League catchers with a .986 fielding percentage, but at the end of the season he was dealt to the Philadelphia Athletics, with two other players, in the same transaction that brought Joe Bush, Wally Schang and Amos Strunk to Boston. He did not appear in a game for the Athletics and was sold to the Indians. While in Cleveland, he won a third World Series ring in 1920. A good pinch-hitter as well, he hit .417 (13-for-31) from 1913 to 1918.
In a 10-season career, Thomas was a .237 hitter (245-for-1035) with two home runs and 102 RBI, including 88 runs, 27 doubles, eight triples, 12 stolen bases, and a .318 on-base percentage. In 423 catching appearances, he commiited 52 errors in 1,948 chances for a .973 fielding percentage. He appeared as himself in the Paramount feature film Warming Up.
Thomas died in Modesto, California at age 65.
- 1913 Reach Guide. 1913. p. 69.