It is with great sadness that the Waverley Baseball Club advises of the passing of one of our longest serving players, Neil Thomas.
Neil lived in Mount Waverley, and in his early years learnt the basics of the game from the legendary Hanlon baseball family. He attended Glen Waverley High School during the 1960’s and was part of a very strong school baseball team, most of whom also played at the fledgling Waverley Baseball Club. Although just a bit too old to play in the juniors, Neil joined Waverley in the mid 1960’s and went on to be regular member of the first’s team. Mainly an outfielder, Neil was always an aggressive batter and base-runner who was blessed with good running speed and a strong throwing arm.
Like most players in their 20’s, family life soon took precedence, and marriage to Sally followed by three children meant baseball became secondary to family life. Neil played for many years at Knox and then returned to Waverley, occasionally playing in the lower grades, but more so in his great love of Master’s Baseball. He is recorded as playing 342 games for our club.
Thommo played his last game for Waverley in 2012, and that same year whilst playing in the PanPacs Masters noticed his co-ordination was not as it should be. In 2014 he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, and later on that year with cancer. Thommo was positive, but factual about his condition, and often spoke to me of his great joy at being the guest of honour at the 3150 Club luncheon, and catching up with so many old friends. In emails he reminisced about the good old days as he planned for his own funeral, wanting pictures and sharing stories from the past. He seemed amazingly strong for what he had suffered with, and the short time he knew lay ahead.
Neil passed away on Wednesday the 27th of May.
Goodbye Thommo, you were a great character and friend to all.