The Phillies Nation Top 100: #18 Roy Thomas

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, February 14, 2014 11:30 AM | Comments: 3
Features, History, Phillies Nation Top 100 - 2014

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #18. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the players listed thus far, please click here. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back this afternoon for #17.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QswPDeIcSRA/TGBdXUWfE8I/AAAAAAAABxI/t6tV5nAEedc/s320/Roy_Thomas%2B(2).jpg#18 Roy Thomas

Years: 1899-1908, 1910-1911

.290/.413/.333 with 7 HR, 244 SB in 6575 PA

Previous Rank: 52 (+34)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 8th among position players, 11th among Phillies

Signature Season: Hit .327/.453/.365 with 107 BB in 1903

Led National League in Walks in Seven of Eight Seasons (1900-1904, 1906-1907)

So often we forget two of the most basic tenants of baseball: get on base and score runs. There was one Phillie that did that better than just about everyone and that was turn of the century center fielder Roy Thomas. Thomas ranks third in Phillies history with a .413 OBP, second in BB%, and seventh in runs scored. Thomas’ single-season marks are almost as impressive: Thomas led the National League in walks in seven out of eight seasons from 1900 through 1907 and led all of baseball in OBP in 1903.

Thomas was one of the first modern lead-off men in baseball. At 5’10″, 150 lbs, Thomas was small but fast, dynamic on the base paths. A native of Norristown and a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas is believed by Bill James to be the only regular player in Major League history to score three-times as many runs as he drove in. Thomas was among the top lead off hitters during his career; Thomas had the fourth-best OBP, sixth in runs, and 26th in steals between 1899 through 1911. Among National League center fielders, Thomas ranked first in fWAR, second in runs, fourth in steals, and first in OBP. Thomas’ all-time stats hold up well, too: Thomas ranks 20th in BB%, 29th in OBP, and 84th all-time in total walks.

Thomas was purchased in 1908 by the Pittsburgh Pirates and returned to the Phillies as a free agent in 1910. He would spent the remainder of his career with the Phillies and begin coaching at Penn in 1909. If the dates seem a little funky, it is because Thomas was the head coach of the Quakers while he was an active Major Leaguer for the Boston Doves. Thomas is one of Philadelphia’s great baseball men – as a native son of Norristown, he was a fantastic Phillie and he would go on to post a winning percentage of .632 (106-46-3) as Penn’s manager.

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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 826 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    It’s nice to see some old-timers on this list. Many of them I have not heard of before.

  • Posts: 0 Vinnie

    from Wikipedia…

    “According to baseball analyst Bill James, Thomas is the only major league regular to have scored three times as many runs as he drove in. In 1470 games played, Thomas compiled 1011 runs scored and 299 runs batted in, as he posted a .290 batting average with a .412 on-base average and 244 stolen bases.”

    I also like seeing some of these oldtimers.

    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Baseball-reference.com agrees with James on that point, Thomas is the only one with more than 4,000 PAs to do it. The only ones to come close in the last 80 years are:

      - Bill North, 1971-81, 640 and 230 (2.78 times)
      - Otis Nixon, 1983-99, 878 and 318 (2.76 times)

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