Gorman Thomas, 1986 Topps

Name: Gorman Thomas
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Designated hitter
Value of card: 3 pounds of carp
Key 1985 stat: 20 knots, north by northwest
"Mariner," definition: (n) One who navigates or assists in navigating a ship
A moving fish story: In 1986, Gorman Thomas was battling scurvy on the seven seas. The same year, the Mariners weren't in much better shape. The team had lost 88 games the previous season, and attendance was in a free fall. Ownership came up with a plan: Bring in a real mariner and insert him in the starting lineup, giving the people of Seattle and fishmongers everywhere an everyman hero for whom to root. Scouts looked far and wide, and finally found their man: a 6-foot-2 net grizzled master baiter for the Sweet Loraine, a crab ship hunting for its catch in the freezing Pacific Northwest waters. Thomas was loathe to leave his life on the open seas, famously saying, "Why would I trade a life of scales and scurvy for one of dirt and dugouts?" Ownership persuaded him to forgo the nets and various forms of crabs and return to the diamond, where he had starred in high school. Thomas' asking price: 12 pails of fish heads, a dry cot and the rest of his beard.


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