From Bellarmine College Prep to the MLB and the KBO. A successful professional baseball career for Eric Thames!
by Matthew Suh ’24
SAN JOSE, CA — “The day has finally come! In the year of our lord, twenty, twenty-three…HE GONE!” These are the words from MLB slugger and former Bellarmine College Prep Baseball player Eric Thames in his latest Instagram post announcing his retirement from professional baseball.
Thames played professional baseball in six different countries (U.S., Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela, and Japan) and played for six different clubs in the MLB (Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, Toronto, Seattle, and Washington).
Eric Allyn Thames grew up in Santa Clara, CA, and attended Bellarmine College Preparatory for high school. At Bellarmine, Thames joined the varsity baseball team in his junior year, where he was named an All-League player for two years and an MVP in his senior year in 2004. While talking about Eric Thames’ retirement, one student who used to attend Bellarmine wrote, “Those of us lucky enough to go to BCP at the same time as him remember him hitting balls over the train tracks during BP and the home run derby. A true spectacle for so young.”
Thames first attended West Valley Community College after not getting much playing time at Cabrillo College. Thames later transferred to Pepperdine University, where the Toronto Blue Jays later drafted him out of college. From the Blue Jays, Thames then played short stints with the Mariners, Orioles, and Astros, before playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and then later signing a contract with the NC Dinos of the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). After a successful few years in the KBO, Thames signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for three years. As a free agent, Thames signed with the Washington Nationals before signing with the Yomiuri Giants of the NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball). A ruptured Achilles tendon ended Thames’ time in Japan, and he signed a minor league deal with his hometown team, the Oakland A’s, before being released.
Eric Thames ends his fantastic six-year career in the MLB with a .241/.325/.467 slash line with 96 home runs and 235 RBIs (runs batted in) in 605 total games played. In his time on the NC Dinos in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization), Thames excelled and put up video game numbers with a .349/.451/.721 slash line with 124 home runs and 382 RBIs (runs batted in) in just 390 total games played.
NC Dino fans and South Koreans adored Eric Thames so much that Changwon city awarded him honorary citizenship. Additionally, the NC Dinos created their own cheer song for Eric Thames (Click Here). In 2019, Thames reappeared in South Korea but not to play professional baseball. Instead, Thames was featured on “King of Mask Singer,” a Korean singing show similar to “The Masked Singer” in America. Thames performed two songs called “Americano” and “Isn’t She Lovely” to an enthusiastic Korean audience (click here).
Thames ends his retirement post by writing, “The next chapter is going to be absolutely insane and I cannot wait to take you on that journey. 🎬🏋🏾♂️ Thanks for the ride!” At the very end of his post, Thames shouts out his former high school, Bellarmine College Preparatory, and writes, “GO BELLS!”
Congrats on a successful professional baseball career, Eric, and as always, GO BELLS!
Matthew Suh is a staff writer and contributor for The Bell Online, Fresh Coast Sports, and The Press Box. He is passionate about the intersection of sports and culture, and loves to explore the stories behind the games. Follow Matthew on Twitter @matthewsuh.