Baltimore Orioles

Lee Thomas, architect of 1993 Phillies and former Orioles special assistant, dies at 86

PHILADELPHIA — Lee Thomas, an All-Star player who eventually became the architect of the 1993 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies and later served in the Orioles’ front office, has died. He was 86.

Thomas died Wednesday at his home in St. Louis, the Phillies announced. No details about the cause were given.


Thomas was Philadelphia’s general manger from 1988 to 1997, and he spent the early portion of his tenure acquiring players who helped lead the Phillies on their improbable run to the World Series. Thomas acquired John Kruk, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Lenny Dykstra, Milt Thompson, Danny Jackson and others who played on the team that lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series. Joe Carter hit the winning home run off Mitch Williams in Game 6 to clinch the championship.

“Lee was a great man and will be missed incredibly,” Phillies Chairman Emeritus Bill Giles said. “I will never forget all the fun we had watching the 1993 Phillies National League championship team that he put together. Through his leadership, Lee has left an indelible mark on Phillies history. My love goes out to his wife, Susie, and his entire family.”

Philadelphia Phillies manager Jim Fregosi, center, holds up the National League Championship trophy as general manager Lee Thomas, left, and president Bill Giles look on during their drive around the field after the Phillies' 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the NLCS on Oct. 14, 1993, Philadelphia.

A former All-Star who played both outfield and first base, Thomas hit 106 home runs in 1,027 career games. In 1962, he was named an American League All-Star, batting .290 with 26 home runs and 104 RBIs. He played parts of eight seasons with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros.

He started his front-office career with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1970s before he joined the Phillies in 1988. Thomas also spent six seasons with the Red Sox as a special assistant to the general manager. He then served as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers until 2006, and from 2011 to 2018 was with the Baltimore Orioles as a special assistant under general manager Dan Duquette.

As the GM of the Boston Red Sox, Duquette hired Thomas in 1998 and he stayed with the club until 2003, a year after Duquette was fired. The pair reunited in Baltimore when Duquette took over baseball operations in 2011.

“I knew Lee had a lot more baseball in him and that his experience as an executive would be a big asset to the Orioles and helpful to me,” Duquette said in 2014. “So we put the band back together again.

“Everybody liked Lee around the industry.”

Thomas is survived by his wife, Susie, and his sons Matthew, Scott, Deron and Daryl.