Braves Journal is starting a new series to entertain the masses, and our first up in the series “Braves One Year Wonder” is Charles Thomas…who is actually younger than I am and that makes me feel old.
Drafted by the Braves in the 19th round of the 2000 draft, Thomas was a 21 y/o prep player out of Western Carolina. He wasn’t particularly a standout in any skillset, rather a guy that could contribute a little bit in all facets of the game.
Mark Derosa, Dewayne Wise, and Chipper Jones Play the Shuffle
If you don’t recall 2004, let me refresh your memory. On December 13th of 2003, the Braves pulled off one of the more polarizing trades in its history, trading for J.D. Drew (and Eli Marrero) and sending rookie prospect Adam Wainwright (and others, but who cares?) to the Cardinals. The plan going into the season was for Chipper to continue roaming left field as he’d done the previous 2 years (damn you, Vinny Castilla), leaving Drew in RF and Andruw Jones in CF. Oh yeah…and Mark Derosa was going to be the starting 3B.
It didn’t work.
Derosa was horrid as a full-time 3B, both offensively and defensively, and on June 15th, he lost his everyday gig to, you guessed it, Chipper Jones. The first player to get the LF gig was the tagalong in the Drew/Wainwright trade, and that was catcher/utility player 2nd Eli Marrero.
The Sideshow of One Year Wonder Eli Marrero
The week prior, Marrero got a good look in LF as the Braves hit Chipper at DH while battling it out in interleague play. As Bobby Cox was known to do, Eli got hot and Cox continued to play the hot hand. Luckily for the Braves, Eli Marrero didn’t get cold again until 2005, but it wasn’t in a Braves uniform as he was traded in the offseason for a flamethrowing reliever, of which the flame burned out, so he was reduced to throwing reliever, then he couldn’t do that, so he was relieved of all 3 descriptives, and just became Jorge Vasquez, the man that used to be a flamethrowing reliever.
On June 23rd, backup OFer Dewayne Wise (how did he have an 11 year career?) was placed on the DL for wholly sucking and that’s when Charles Thomas made his MLB debut.
Here was Mac’s description on Thomas when he was given the call:
Thomas was leading the IL in hitting (as Nick Green was when he was called up) with a .358 average; he had a few walks, if not as much as youâ€™d like (.416 OBP) and pretty decent doubles power (.535 SLG though only 4 homers).
Thomas is a lefthanded hitting and throwing outfielder, listed at 6-feet even, 190 pounds, and was so obscure coming into this season â€” even though heâ€™d hit .324 last year in Greenville â€” that our bio doesnâ€™t have a picture or comment on him. He didnâ€™t make the Top 50 list either. (Props to Flo, who had him 29th.) Heâ€™s already 26, so his future isnâ€™t all that bright, but he could be a fourth outfielder for some time and almost certainly would outhit Wise.Mac Thomason
One Year Wonder, Charles Thomas
This is just the absolute best. Charles Thomas was a mediocre Minor League Player that turned in a sensational 1/2 season of Major League baseball. When he got the call, the Braves were 32-37 and in the midst of an awful stretch of baseball. From then on, the Braves went 64-29, to finish with a 96-66 record.
Thomas caught fire from June 26th-July 29th, as he carried a 1.038 OPS in 87 PAs and the Braves went 21-6 in that span. Here are some more fun numbers and facts during Charles Thomas’s Summer of George:
- On July 10th, he single-handedly beat the Phillies 4-0, as he hit 2 HRs, driving in 3 and scoring another run independent of the homers.
- He had a streak of 8 games where he might’ve been the best player in baseball with a .464/.593/.816 slash line.
- Help Braves win 9 of 10 at the end of August, carrying a 1.197 OPS.
Charles Thomas, the Gift that Keeps on Giving
I’m sure much to his surprise, after breaking out in 2004 and helping the Braves capture their 13th straight division title, Charles Thomas was traded to the Oakland A’s for Tim Hudson. The A’s also received Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer in the deal. The 3 players combined for 2.2 fWAR for the rest of their careers while Tim Hudson put up 19.7 over 8 years for the Braves.
But don’t let that take anything away from you, Charles. While J.D. Drew’s remarkable 2004 was the biggest factor for winning the division, your month of beast baseball was the spark that ignited the turn! #Legend
Thanks for reading on One Year Wonder, Charles Thomas. If you enjoyed this piece, take a gander at a look back of the 1992 NLCS!
Chuckie T! One of the best things that ever happened to us. Loved watching him make sliding catches in left field on the few balls that Andruw didn’t get to. Watching those three play outfield defense, it didn’t seem like anything could ever fall in.
The Charles Thomas’s of the baseball world are my favorite guys to root for because, in reality, we know their shelf-lives are minute, but watching them have their moment in real time is just the best.
I’m actually really excited about this series. Great stuff.
2 words: kudzu defense
Patrons that have pledged an amount that gets you access to a free shirt and Braves Journal baseball game, I’m in a holding pattern on the shirt as I have them, but not going to make trips to the mailbox at this time. (Obviously, we are in a holding pattern for planning the game as well.)
Also, if you’ve ordered a shirt from the site, but have not received said shirt, please email me and I’ll reach out to my distributor.
Thanks for your patience.
Good stuff, I hope ‘Hurricane Hazle’ is included in the series.
One of the best moments for Charles!
Apparently, Charles Thomas was in the video booth for the Braves back in 2017. Does he still work in the org?
Wimbledon being cancelled is not good for baseball’s prospects. True or false?
@6, great call!
@9, I’m afraid that’s true. Of all the sports, you’d think that a one-on-one match that involves mandatory social distancing would be something that you could solve via delay, and play the matches with empty bleachers, rather than outright cancellation. Seems to suggest that part of the inherent problem to deal with is air travel across multiple countries dealing with horrific outbreaks.
We’re in genuinely new territory.
I wonder what is the advantage of cancelling something 3 months away, relative to let’s say, cancelling it 2 months away?
@6,9: Depends on your definition of a one-year wonder. Hurricane Hazle unfortunately followed up his brilliant 1957 with 20 games in 1958 before being traded to the Tigers, where his career ended that year. I’m a stickler.
@12, to me, the definition of “One-year wonder” is clear — it’s someone who was only good one year, and who sucked the rest of the time, which Bob Hazle fits to a T. What is your working definition?
For the purposes of this series (as I understand it), the intention is to only include those who played for the Braves during one season. So the focus will be on those player’s accomplishments (or lack thereof) during that season.
Enjoyed this one! Like the series. As a suggestion a similar story occurred much earlier – maybe even as a Milwaukee Brave. Bob Hale, played right or left field and hit almost 400 the the last half of the season.
@13: What Kirk H. said. People who only had one good year (or one bad one) for the Braves are legion. But the set who only had one year with the Braves is much, much smaller. And such players could have great careers (or terrible ones) elsewhere as well. So Donaldson is in, Teixeira is out. Charles Thomas is in, Jose Constanza is out (but really close!)
Charles Thomas!! A great flash in the pan. Well worth recalling, as well, that Thomas was part of one of the most productive Braves’ Drafts ever. A 19th round draft pick, Thomas advanced steadily through the system making a promising start in 2004, which made him a solid trading chip. Hated to see him leave the Braves and it was disappointing that his MLB career was short.
Nonetheless, Thomas is not only a nice ‘one year wonder’ to recall, but a good example of why deep drafts–seemingly now devalued by the powers that govern the sport–matter–not only for major league clubs, but for some of its fans….
Excellent series. This should be fun!
@11 I think because it is clear that we won’t be out of the woods come summer.
Alex, that’s a good point that Wimbledon includes lots of international travel. That would be one difference.
Rusty, I would think it’s partly related to letting the athletes know if they need to continue to be in game shape. And you also have sponsors, operation staff, etc. that need to know if it’s on or not, and perhaps 2 months was cutting it too close.
As the numbers tick up, I still don’t yet feel like the data says that we’re in for a large crowd ban that takes us deep enough into the summer that we won’t have baseball. I remain optimistic, pray for everyone affected, and I’ll enjoy the one-year wonders and wankers.
I’m also very proud of my wife. She’s in the hazmat gear in the 90 degree heat testing people for corona in Orlando, and she wants to go to NYC once her contract ends here. Since we’ve been married, I’ve supported her decisions to go to nursing school, nurse practitioner school, take a job that required her to be on-call for 24 hour shifts, and do this Orlando testing site, but I think NYC is going to be a little tough for both her and us. Instead of a treatment floor in NYC, I countered her with another option she had, a testing site in South Carolina. I don’t want to tell her she can’t do something that she feels she should do, but… NYC is a little much.
New Thread! I’ve JC’d quite a few so I’ll bring the last 3 over!
And welcome back, Stephen!