In November of 2016, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) legend Eric Thames to a 3-year, $16 mil guaranteed contract with a $7.5 mil club option for 2020. Yesterday, the Brewers declined that club option and choose to pay the $1 mil buyout instead. While that does not necessarily mean the end of the Eric Thames era for sure (he could come back on a less expensive contract), he will have the option to go elsewhere.
Bottom line on Eric Thames: The Brewers are open to bringing him back, said David Stearns. But they feel they can better allocate that $6.5 million ($7.5M club option minus $1M buyout) and still find production on this market at first base.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) November 4, 2019
With Eric Thames’ tenure in Milwaukee potentially over, it just seems that we should look back on one of the more memorable characters ever to wear a Brewers’ uniform.
What might be most memorable about Eric Thames as a Brewer is his torrid start. His month of April in 2017 was remarkable. He slashed .345/.466/.810. He crushed 11 home runs and posted an wRC+ of 219. It was as if Lou Gehrig came back to life in the form of Eric Thames. While he never came close to another month like that with Milwaukee, he lit Milwaukee and MLB on fire with his first month with the Brew Crew. In case we forget, he merited an article in the New York Times for his April 2017 coming out party.
Ownership of the Cincinnati Reds in 2017
Eric Thames did more damage to the Cincinnati Reds than any other team he faced in 2017. For the season he slashed .351/.493/.895 with 10 homers and 51 total bases, which was better than 1⁄3 of the total bases he accumulated against all teams for the entire year. He hit 7 of his 10 home runs against the Reds in April. During his 5 home runs in 5 days tear from April 13-17, four of those games were against the Reds.
Eric Thames is an interesting man. In the three years with the Brew Crew, he did some memorable things. If you remember, he had a lot of blood and urine to give MLB baseball’s drug testers when skeptics like Chris Bosio questioned his early results.
Eric Thames was drug tested again tonight. "If people keep thinking I'm on stuff, I'll be here every day. I have a lot of blood and urine." pic.twitter.com/De1smFWVj7— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 26, 2017
Thames just fit into the city of Milwaukee so well. This was especially the case with his love of beer, whether making it:
Synergy: Brewers players Eric Thames, Oliver Drake & Corey Knebel working with MillerCoors to brew a beer that will be sold at Miller Park pic.twitter.com/BV2ufzaWnZ— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 22, 2017
or drinking it:
Of course who can forget his big truck, and Milwaukee’s police pulling him over for its enormity.
The love felt for him by the Korean population reflected itself through his home run song.
He loved wrestling,
ripping off his shirt,
View this post on Instagram
BRING. ME. THANOS!!!!!!! Clay Williams over at Eaglewood Sculptures did an awesome job on this custom, one-of-a-kind, Stormbreaker Axe. ⚡️THOR⚡️ inspired, the whole piece weighs around 30 pounds and is composed of a bronze head wrapped with vines around a finished oak handle. Complete nerdgasm! #테임즈 #nerd #marvel #avengers
and singing in disguise.
Eric Thames is a unique man that seems to really enjoy life. With all of his interesting activities as they are, let’s remember that he was a fine hitter that was “must see TV” when he was going well. In his career as a Brewer, he slashed .241/.343/.504 while blasting 72 home runs and a 118 wRC+. He was also no stranger to the big moment.
His antics and personality were over-the-top, but in the best kind of way. His play on the field reflected his personality. He seemed like a great teammate as well. If this is it for Eric Thames as a Brewer, he will be missed.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs and Baseball Reference