Casey Thomas spent his life working toward the lofty goal of playing someday in Major League Baseball.
His journey took him from the Ahwatukee Little League, to Desert Vista High School, to GateWay Community College and to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi University.
Finally, Casey got the shot he had dreamed about last summer. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics and played 37 games in the Arizona Rookie League – the first rung of professional baseball’s stepping-stone to the big leagues.
No one could imagine that Thomas, 24, would suddenly die without warning at his mother’s Ahwatukee house on May 1, bringing a sudden end to his professional career and leaving a shocked family to grieve a life that was too short.
The closest Casey would to the major leagues was a moment of silence observed last week at Target Field in Minneapolis before the A’s played the Twins.
And on Friday, some Ahwatukee Little League players also held a moment of silence to honor someone who was once their own – as well as a man who was starting to reach the heights many of them aspire to achieve.
“I had 24 beautiful years with Casey, from an infant to a boy to a man,’’ said his father Tom Thomas, a professional baseball scout for the A’s. “I am more proud of him as a person. The baseball part was secondary.’’