With the championship game of the Belgian Series, on Sunday, October 9, the career of slugger Thomas de Wolf came to an end. After twenty-nine years, Thomas decided to call it quits. No better way to finish your career with a championship.
In 1993, Thomas got acquainted with baseball thanks to a classmate at kindergarten and parents, who were chatting at the school’s entrance. He started his playing days with Hoboken Pioneers, and pretty soon he fell in love with the game.
In 2006, Thomas made his first steps in the highest Belgian league with the Hoboken Pioneers.
In 2009, after some good performances with the Belgian national teams, Thomas signed a contract with the New York Mets organization. For two seasons, he played in the Dominican Summer League and for one season, he played in the Gulf Coast League. Eventually, the Mets tried to convert him into a pitcher, but apparently, they were not satisfied, even though Thomas had worked his butt off to reach that goal. But with his experience as a pitcher under his belt, he returned to Europe, where he signed with the Tübingen Hawks of the German 1. Bundesliga.
After spending the following seasons in Germany, he was signed by the Independent Evansville Otters, thanks to Eric Massingham (all-time saves leader in the Frontier League), who played with the Stuttgart Reds in 2015. So in 2016, Thomas joined the Otters but unfortunately, it was only a cup of coffee. So returning to Europe, he signed another contract with a German club, this time with Mainz Athletics, with whom he won the German championship as he batted an impressive .444.
A new chapter in his career came in 2018, when he played for T&A San Marino of the Italian Serie A, back then called the Italian Baseball League.
Eventually, Thomas returned to Belgium where he joined his old club Hoboken Pioneers again. With that club, he won the unofficial Belgian championship as no championship series was played due to COVID. As Hoboken finished on top of the standings, they were declared “COVID champions.” But in the following two years, Pioneers would win the championship in an official championship series. In the final two seasons of his career, 2021 and 2022, Thomas hit .436, and .404 respectively.
Thomas decided to quit competitive baseball because the game was no longer fun to him. To him, the lack of mentality of the Belgian Baseball Federation and several clubs, eventually made him see that competitive baseball would not bring him anything new after twenty-nine years. But Thomas says baseball has been nothing but good to him.
What will Thomas do with all this spare time? He will still be a fan/supporter. He will also look for a new sport to fall in love with, spend lots of time with his family, but also visit ball games armed with a camera.
I’d like to thank Thomas for the time he took to answer my questions. The presence of this very friendly guy will be missed.
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