The first autograph I ever received was from Tom O'Malley. It must have been in the 1983 season, but I still remember Tom signing my Giants program cover when I was near the dugout. For that reason, I'll always remember Tom even though his tenure with the Giants was for only three years.
Tom was drafted by the Giants in the 16th round of the 1979 amateur draft straight out of Montoursville High School in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, and spent the subsequent three years in the minors before being called up to the Bigs in 1982. Unfortunately, Tom's time with the Giants was uneventful for a corner infielder - he hit 7 home runs, 72 RBI, and batted .260 in those three years. In August of 1984, Tom was traded to the Chicago White Sox and lasted there for the remainder of the season. For the next five years, Tom would end up spending time with Baltimore, Texas, Montreal, and New York (Mets) before his Major League career ended.
What transpired afterwards was something you would see from a Hollywood movie script, in fact, Tom's story kinda reminds me of the movie, Mr. Baseball, featuring Tom Selleck as a former Major Leaguer making it big in Japan.
While in Japan, Tom's career flourished, in fact he flat out dominated. In his first year with the Hanshin Tigers, the 31-year old batted .307, hit 21 home runs, and 81 RBI. In the subsequent two years, Tom batted .325 and .329. In 1994, Tom batted .314 with 15 home runs and was promptly let go at season's end. In the next season, Tom signed with the Yakult Swallows and was determined to play so well that would make the Tigers regret letting him go. In that year, Tom won the Central League MVP while batting .302, 31 home runs, and 98 RBI. He also hit .529 in the Japan Series and won the series MVP. In 1996, Tom still produced by hitting .315, 18 home runs, and 97 RBI, but politics within the organization made Tom the scapegoat and he was released at season's end.
In 1997, Tom returned to the States, and was in spring training camp with the Texas Rangers, but he didn't make the club and didn't want to play in the minors and his professional playing career essentially ended.
So where is he now? After his playing career ended, Tom managed the Newark Bears of the Independent League from 1998-2001. After that, he returned to the Land of the Rising Sun, and became a batting instructor and scout for his former employer, the Hanshin Tigers up until 2009.
Tom O'Malley (SF Giants: 1982-84)
Tom O'Malley (Hanshin Tigers: 1991-94; Yakult Swallows: 1995-96)