Photo courtesy of Memories Photography / Bert Hindman
(Waldorf, Md., Aug. 5, 2019) – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Atlantic League (ALPB) announced Monday that they will donate the cleats worn by Tony Thomas to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The cleats will be the second Atlantic League artifact donated to the Hall of Fame in as many weeks following the donation of an earpiece from the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) on July 25th.
On July 13th, 2019, the Blue Crabs outfielder, Thomas became the first player in the history of America’s pastime to steal first base. Per the Atlantic League’s partnership with Major League Baseball, batters may “steal” first base on any pitch not caught in flight. On an 0-1 pitch, Thomas watched a ball sail past the Lancaster Barnstormers’ catcher, Anderson De La Rosa. De La Rosa did not move to retrieve the ball, and after a moment of hesitation, Thomas took off for first. When his red and white New Balance cleats with the initials “TTJ” struck first base, he went down in baseball history as the first to steal first.
Rick White, President of the Atlantic League, said “It was just a matter of time until an enterprising batter seized the initiative to take first base on a wild pitch. Tony Thomas was the right player at the right time and will forever be known as the first player to steal first!” Blue Crabs General Manager, Courtney Knichel added “Tony Thomas, the Blue Crabs, and the Atlantic League are now and forever engrained into the roots of America’s pastime. It’s incredible to be a part of a first in a game with so much history.”
Upon hearing the news of his Cooperstown bound cleats, Thomas said, “I feel honored to be accepted into the Hall of Fame. We play this game to be there, no matter how you get in. It’s a blessing that something that I did will be a legacy that lasts forever.”
Stealing first base, the ABS, and a sum of additional rule and equipment initiatives designed to improve the game of baseball are a part of the ALPB/MLB partnership and will remain in ALPB play for the duration of Atlantic League’s Championship Season.
About the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
The Blue Crabs play 140 regular season games in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The Blue Crabs, in their 12th season of baseball, call Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland home. For more information on the Blue Crabs, please call 301-638-9788 or visit http://www.somdbluecrabs.com for more information.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 900 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.