Dec 27, 2015

Former Mets Outfielder: Tom O'Malley (1989-1990)

Thomas Patrick O’Malley was born Christmas day 1960 in West Orange, New Jersey. The Irish American family moved to Montoursville, Pennsylvania where Thomas would grow up. The six foot left hand hitting outfielder, was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 16th round of the 1979 draft.

At age twenty he was a Texas League All Star leading all third baseman in fielding. By 1982 after 26 games he was batting .446 at AAA Phoenix, when the Giants wanted him in their line up. They made room for his bat, by moving veteran Darrel Evans over to first base.

The Giants had high hopes for Tom; he hit .275 with 12 doubles, two HRs & 27 RBIs in 92 games that year as they finished third under Frank Robinson. 1983 would prove to be O'Malley's only full season, batting .259 with five HRs, 16 doubles & 45 RBIs in 135 games as the team finished fifth.

Over the next two seasons he spent most of his time in the minors, where he hit well, batting .346 at AAA Phoenix. He struggled at the major league level batting just .120 in 13 games for the sixth place Giants. In 1985 he was first traded to the Chicago White Sox, then got released. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers then was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later.

He hit .254 in 56 games for the ‘86 Orioles but was granted free agaency & signed with the Texas Rangers. There he hit .274 from August through the end of the 1987 season. He played briefly for Montreal in 1988 & then in Spring Training 1989 he got traded to the New York Mets for Steve Frey. Frey had come over from the AL New York club in a trade after the 1987 season.

At AAA Tidewater, O’Malley hit .295, leading the International League in on base percentage as well as in RBIs (84). His fifteen HRs were fifth most in the league, and he won the International League MVP Award. He also got the position as the starting third baseman in the AAA All Star game.

He got a September call up to the Mets 1989 squad, debuting as a pinch hitter on September 7th, in a 13-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea. On September 9th in his second game as a Met, he drove in two runs with a pinch hit off the Phillies Jeff Parrett at Philadelphia. O’Malley had a good month, batting .545 (6-11) while driving in eight runs, and hitting two doubles in just nine games.

In 1990 he was with the club at the start of the season, but struggled as he only had two hits in 21 games over the first two months of the season. On June 5th he had his shining moment as he hit a walk off HR off the Expos Dale Mohorcic beating Montreal 6-5. In a June 12th 19-8 Mets win at Wrigley Field O'Malley had a three hit three RBI day.

The next day he returned with a two run HR at Wrigley as the Mets won another wild one 15-10. On August 29th he singled in the 7th inning off the Padres Andy Benes to tie up the game 1-1. Daryl Boston would win it with a base hit in the bottom of the 9th.

O'Malley was often used as a pinch hitter against lefties but only hit .175 in 44 tries in that role. In 82 games he batted.223, with three HRs, seven doubles, 14 RBIs & a .286 on base % in just 121 at bats.

In 1991 his contact was purchased by the Yashin Tigers in Japan. There he became an All Star & Best Nine MVP winner. He also won a Championship title, while leading the league in walks three times, intentional walks twice & on base percentage once. He was among the league leaders in many categories for five seasons in Japan.

Retirement: After his playing days he coached the Newark Bears in his home state of New Jersey in the Independent league. He then also coached & scouted in Japan.

In his nine year career he batted .256 with 310 hits, 54 doubles 5 triples 13 HRs 131 RBIs & a .329 on base % in 466 games.

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