‘Stormin’ Gorman Returns
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN •
JUNE 24, 1983 – An overflow crowd of 46,037 fans packed Milwaukee County Stadium on this date in baseball history, most to see the other team’s centerfielder. In an outpouring of affection rarely directed toward high-salaried pro athletes, especially from the opposing team, Brewer fans showed their appreciation for one of their most beloved players, Gorman Thomas. Fans were infuriated when Thomas was traded to the Cleveland Indians 18 days earlier.
courtesy of Baseball Almanac/www.baseball-almanac.com
In one 5-year span from 1978 to 1982, Thomas averaged 35 home runs and 98 runs batted in, and was a key part of the Brewers' 1982, and only, World Series team. It was as much Thomas’ persona, personality and early failures as his slugging that endeared him to Brewer fans. He was the epitome of
Milwaukee – a tough looking, but easy-going, lunch pail carrying, mutton chopped faced throwback who could have been any one of thousands of working stiffs in this blue collar town if he wasn’t a major league baseball player.
Early on Thomas thoroughly frustrated Brewer fans and management with his frequent strikeouts and low average. During the 5-year span from 1974 - ’78, Thomas was up and down from the big team to the minors, spending the entire ’77 season at
Spokane, but he broke out in 1978, hitting 32 home runs and driving in 86 and turned out to be an excellent centerfielder.
Thomas was as devastated by the 1983 trade from the Brewers as the fans were infuriated, but he got a chance to finish his career as a Brewer in 1986, and was inducted into the Brewer Walk of Fame in 2004.