Portrait of American League's Philadelphia Athletics baseball player Ira Thomas bending forward with his glove in hand standing on the field at South Side Park, which was located at West 37th Street, South Princeton Avenue, West Pershing Road (formerly West 39th Street), and South Wentworth Avenue in the Armour Square community area of Chicago, Illinois. Other players on the field and spectators in the stands are visible in the background. 1909 Photo. Negatives #SDN-008245 Chicago Daily News courtesy Chicago Historical Societ
A leading catcher during the dead ball era, Ira Thomas played 10 major league seasons, 1906-1915. Signed by the New York Highlanders in 1906, later nicknamed the Yankees, he was a native of New York State, born in Ballston Spa. In 1908 he was sold to the Detroit Tigers and hit a very solid .307 in 40 games.
In 1909 he was purchased by owner Connie Mack of the Philadelphia Athletics, and because of his excellent fielding quickly became a fans favorite. The 6 ft 2 inch, 200-pound Ira Thomas batted .278 in 1910 and his team work with pitching stars Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Jack Combs and Eddie Morgan helped the Athletics win the pennant and the 1910 World Series over the Cubs. In the Series, Ira Thomas got 3 hits in 12 at bats, 2 runs and one RBI.
He hit a career-high 14 doubles in 1911 and in the 1911 World Series win over the New York Giants, got one hit in 12 at bats, and played an aggressive catcher position.