November 25, 1896: Athlete Clint Thomas Born in Kentucky

Nov 25, 2015

Credit e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia / J.E. Miller, K.C. via Library of Congress

Athlete Clint Thomas was born in Greenup, Kentucky, on November 25, 1896. Thomas was a baseball star in the Negro Leagues in the 1920s and ’30s, during the days of racial segregation.

Among the highlights of his career was a game-saving catch in his team’s defeat of Satchel Paige and the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Another time, Thomas hit a triple off Dizzy Dean and scored the game’s only run in defeating a team of white all-stars in an exhibition. Ankle injuries in 1938 and ’39 ended his playing days. In his two decades in the Negro Leagues, Thomas compiled a lifetime batting average of about .350 and averaged about 25 home runs a year.

After working in the Brooklyn Navy Yards during World War II, Clint Thomas settled in Charleston in 1945 at the suggestion of his brother and went to work for the Department of Mines. In 1954, he became a messenger for the West Virginia Senate and was a familiar figure around the state capitol until the late ’70s, when failing eyesight forced him to retire. He died in Charleston in 1990 at age 94.