The twelfth most common surname in North America is "Thomas." That's as a last/family name. The thing about "Thomas" is that it's also the tenth most common male first (given) name, and as such, also a pretty damn common middle name, though there aren't any obvious and relaiable statistics on that last point.
Speaking of points, the point here is that while there have been 38 big-league ballplayers -- the same number of instances the #11 name Anderson had, just as the #9 and #10 names, Moore and Taylor, each had exactly 47 apiece -- there have been far more with that appellation as a first or middle name.
In fact, even if you count only players who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame or made an All-Star team (thus ignoring virtually every first/middle-named Thomas who played before 1933), there have been 26 with the first name Thomas and 21 more with that middle name.
Perhaps here we should engage in a bit of, er, Thomistic clarification ...
... and specify that players are considered to have the "first name" Thomas if they either actually had that as a first name or had it as a middle name and most commonly went by Tom, Tommy or Thomas. A team made up of middle-named Thomases might indeed lobby hard to have as their #1 starting pitcher a certain Hall of Fame righty name of George Thomas Seaver -- but that ain't going to happen, and Tom Terrific goes to the head of the first-named Thomas rotation.
Before we move on, it's worth mentiong that there has actually been a Tom Thomas, nicknamed "Savage Tom," though likely not for his pitching as the cup-of-coffee RHRP managed a career 3-3 mark, first in one-third of an inning with the 1894 Cleveland Spiders and later in just over 50 innings the 1899-1900 St. Louis Cardinals.
There was, according to BaseballReference.com, also a Tommy Thomas, but his given first name was Alphonse, so he wasn't truly a Tom-Tom, though his 117-128 career mark just might land him a spot on the All-Thomas squad.
Nobody with the surname Thomas has been inducted into the Hall of Fame yet, though a certain still-active Big Hurt seems a fair bet to break that drought in a few years; including Seaver, there are four first-named Thomases in Cooperstown (also Connolly, LaSorda and McCarthy) with Glavine a few years off of probably making it five. The middle-named Thomases, meanwhile, have three, including a 500-homer guy and two of the finest Negro League outfielders ever to put on a uniform.
But this article is meant to examine specifically the surnamed Thomases, so let's take a quick spin through an All-Star team of the first- and middle-named Tom-boys and then move on to building the surnamed team, whose team name doesn't exactly inspire great confidence.
On the middle name team below right, we didn't bother to actually list the middle name of each player; it's, uh, Thomas. As always, ** indicates a Hall of Famer while * indicates an All-Star.
The Tom Foolerys
MGR Tommy LaSorda**
C Tom Haller*
1B Tommy Henrich*
2B Tommy Herr*
SS Tom Veryzer
3B Tom Tresh*
RF Tom Brunansky*
CF Tommy Davis*
LF Tommy Holmes*
DH Tommy McCarthy**
RHSP Tom Seaver**
LHSP Tom Glavine*(*)
RHSP Tommy Bridges*
LHSP Tommy John*
LHSP Tom Browning*
RHRP Tom Henke*
LHRP Tom Burgmeier*
RHRP Tom "Flash" Gordon*
LHRP Tom "Ossie" Judd*
RHRP Tom Hume*
Apologies to Hall of Fame umpire Tom Connolly -- not sure where he'd go on a roster; and to C Tom Pagnozzi, LF/1B Tom Paciorek, RHSP Tom Brewer and LHSP Tommy Byrne all of whom made All-Star teams in their careers, but none of whom made this team's roster.
The Tom Thumbs
MGR Roy Hartsfield
C Mike Heath
1B Nick Etten*
SS Gary DiSarcina*
3B Mel Ott**
RF Jack Tobin
CF James "Cool Papa" Bell**
LF Norman "Turkey" Stearnes**
DH Sean Casey*
LHSP Sam McDowell*
RHSP Johnny Allen*
LHSP Curt Simmons*
RHSP Lynwood "Schoolboy" Rowe
LHSP Steve Avery*
RHRP Jeff Montgomery*
LHRP Jim Brewer*
RHRP Bobby Thigpen*
LHRP Dan Plesac*
RHRP John Wyatt*
Apologies to RHSPs Pete Harnisch, Mike Morgan and Bob Purkey and to OF Wally Westlake, all four of whom made All-Star teams in their careers, but none of whom cracked this team's roster.
That's some eye-popping bullpen talent, especially, for both of those squads. But we're here to see if we can't build out a roster of players -- there have been 38, recall -- with the surname Thomas. And because we're not sure yet if that can be done, it's time to meet ...
The Doubting Thomases
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
MGR: Fred Thomas (11-18 for 1887 Indianapolis Hoosiers; only Thomas to manage)
C Ira Thomas (.242 in 484 games, 1906-15)
1B Frank J. Thomas* (.266, 285 homers, 1951-66)
2B Derrell Thomas (.249/140 SB in 15 seasons; played all nine positions)
SS Andres Thomas (.234, 1985-90)
3B Fred H. Thomas (.225, 1918-20)
LF Lee Thomas* (.255, 106 homers, 1961-68)
CF Gorman Thomas* (.225, 268 homers, 13 years)
RF Roy A. Thomas (.290, 1011 runs scored 1899-1911)
DH Frank E. Thomas*(*) (.308, 436 homers through 2004)
C Chester "Pinch" Thomas (.237 in 481 games, 1912-21)
C Valmy Thomas (.230 in nine seasons)
SS John "Bud" Thomas (7-for-20 for 1951 SLB)
OF/COR IF George Thomas (.255, 1957-71)
OF/MID IF Herb Thomas (.225 in 74 games, 1924-27)
OF Dan Thomas (.274 for 1976-77 MIL)
RHSP Alphonse "Tommy" Thomas (117-128, 1926-37)
LHSP Brad Thomas (0-3, 2001-04 MIN)
RHSP Myles Thomas (23-22, 1926-30)
LHSP Clarence "Lefty" Thomas (0-2, 1925-26)
RHSP Luther "Bud" Thomas (25-34, 1932-41)
CL-RH Roy J. Thomas (20-11, 7 saves in eight seasons)
LH-SET Larry Thomas (2-3, 1995-97 CHW)
RH-SET Stan Thomas (11-14, nine saves in four seasons)
RH-LONG Fay Thomas (9-20, 1927-35)
RHRP Tom Thomas (3-3 in 10 games, three starts, parts of three seasons)
Notes: Catcher is a particularly weak position for this team, so we'll carry all three Thomases who played a decade or so behind the plate early in the 20th century ... Speaking of weak spots, the pitching staff is "anchored" by that guy with the 117-128 career mark in the rotation, while no surnamed Thomas has even cracked double (much less triple) digits in career saves ...
Brad, Charles and Frank "Big Hurt" are the only active Thomases as of this writing ... Maybe former SFG OF/1B Gary Thomasson could start up a "Thomas: The Next Generation" thing ... Among the few, the proud, the final cuts from this squad, were current Oakland system OF Charles Thomas, who was part of Tim Hudson trade and is at .259 through 2005; OF Keith "Kite" Thomas, who hit .233 in 1952-53 and at least had a cool if confusing nickname; and SS Walt Thomas, who was 2-for-13 for the 1908 Boston Braves ...
So, Bauxites, have you got anything (St. Thomas) More to add?