Jul 08, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics players observe a moment of silence before the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

A Death in the A's Family

I’ll readily admit from the beginning that prior to today I didn’t have any idea who Thomas Shea was.  But by the end of the day I came to realize just how significant he was to the Athletics organization.  There isn’t much information about what happened to be found, but  Thomas Shea passed away today and a very sudden and heartfelt outpouring of sadness came from many within the A’s organization.  A search on Twitter for “Thomas Shea” brings up tweets from A’s players like Dan Straily and Sean Doolittle, as well as Minor League players like Jeremy Barfield, Ian Krol, Arnold Leon, and many many more (See for yourself).

Whenever a member of an organization passes away it sends reverberations throughout all levels and really makes you stop and appreciate life and those you have around you.  Unfortunately things like this are not new to the Athletics organization.  Just a few months back the team was shocked by the news that reliever Pat Neshek‘s newborn son Gehrig had died unexpectedly, Neshek did return to the team in the ALDS and inspired us all and tugged on our heart strings by facing that grief and retiring the Tigers in his inning of work.

There have been some former players who were lost as well, most notably the death of former starter and essential piece in the 20 game win streak Cory Lidle, who crashed his small plane into a building in New York City in 2006.  Another former Athletic Joe Kennedy died of a heart defect in 2007 in the middle of the night before a friends wedding.

It’s never an easy thing to deal with, and it’s almost impossible to find the right words to express sympathies, but something like this needs to be dealt with together.  Our thoughts are with the Shea family, and with all of the members of the Athletics organization who knew him.  Based on the sentiments expressed by all those players, it seemed like Thomas Shea was a really special person.  If the young talent we saw in Oakland last year was any indication of Shea’s work, then he clearly was very good at what he did.  He will be missed.

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  • Lee

    Thomas’ parents were my neighbors years ago in Enterprise, AL. A fine family ~ my heart is breaking for them. Thank you for this article.

  • Hugh Giles

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of Thomas. His parents, Tom and Nancy, were great friends of ours from Nashville, Tn. Tom, our thoughts and prayers are with you and Nancy and Patrick. God Bless you!! Hugh & Nicole

  • Tom Shea, Sr.

    I would like to thank Mr. Davis for taking time to publish this special article about our son Thomas. His unexpected passing has not only impacted us deeply but also an organization he deeply loved. He grew up idolizing the A’s and now he was contributing to his dream job. He loved the organization staff and mostly the players who he challenged to do well and their best. He was not a forceful person and never had a negative thought or word for anyone but could get them to do things through his affectionate smile and loving caring personality. The Shea family owes the A’s a mountain of gratitude for giving him the opportunity to shine for his little time he was with them. Wish it could of been more, so he could do more but we are just as proud of what time he did have to impact all he met. We will miss you Thomas for the rest of our lives. Dad, Mom and your best friend- your brother Patrick