You know, there are a lot of strange stat lines in baseball. Some are odd-looking lines for a particular game, others for a season. But there is nothing quite like the career stat line for Roy Thomas.
Thomas was a Deadball Era center fielder who spent most of his time with the Phillies. He made the Major Leagues in 1899, stayed through 1909, and played all but two years with Philadelphia (actually he played six games in Philly in 1908, but spent most of the season with Pittsburgh. He was a leadoff hitter and a very good, for the era, center fielder. You could, if you wanted, make a case for him as the second best center fielder in Phillies history after Richie Ashburn if you wanted (I’m not sure I would). In other words he’s a good solid player who deserves to be remembered, but Geez does his stat line look funny.
For his career Thomas hit .290, had an OBP of .413, and slugged .333 for an OPS of .747 (OPS+ 124). His WAR is 38.7 (about 3.0 per season). He has 100 doubles, 53 triples, seven home runs, and 1011 runs scored in 1537 hits. He walked 1042 times, struck out 518, had 1764 total bases, and 299 RBIs. He led the NL in walks seven times and in OBP twice. As a fielder he led the league in putouts, assists, range factor, and fielding percentage at various times. Like a said, a nice solid career.
But look at a couple of those numbers closely. He scored 1537 runs and had 299 RBIs. As such he’s the only significant player (more than 500 games) who managed to score three times as many runs as he knocked in. His ratio of doubles to total hits is a MLB record, as is his ratio of singles to hits. He’s also the only man with 1500 hits and less than 300 RBIs. This guy is an on base machine, but it’s always to first base. He also has only 244 stolen bases with a high of 42 in his rookie campaign. That means between 1537 hits, 1042 walks, he manages to get to second base on his own 404 times ( doubles + triples + home runs + stolen bases), also an MLB record. His OBP to slugging percentage is 1.24 to 1 (another record) and he manages 6.5 walks for every extra base hit (You guessed it, yet another record).
Now are those a strange set of stats or what? Roy Thomas is the ultimate singles hitter. Just thought you’d like to know.