Inducted November 1, 1980
Indomitable courage in the face of a physical disability helped Harvey Thomas surmount that handicap to become one of the most dedicated sports figures of the Twenties and Thirties. While his primary claim to recognition as a sports personality was through his identity as a reporter for the Evening Telegram, there is nevertheless another side of Harvey’s nature which seems to have been overshadowed by his writing skills.
As a member of the St. John’s Rifle Club early in the present century, Harvey became an instructor in the use of firearms and participated in the training of volunteers in the Newfoundland Regiment. He did not emerge as a local sports figure until the early Twenties, when his name became associated with virtually every sport played locally. He had rare organizing ability and is credited for having awakened interest in long distance running, baseball, track and field and the Annual Regatta.
A. Harvey Thomas was born in Toronto, March 15th, 1891, of Newfoundland parents. The family returned to St. John’s while Harvey was still a baby. Harvey received his early education at Methodist College and following graduation went to work for a local legal firm. Through his legal association, he became a great friend of the Higgins family. It would seem that the Higgins’ love of athletics rubbed off on Harvey. The late Judge W.J. Higgins saw to it that Harvey’s disability didn’t deny him active participation in sports. Higgins provided every encouragement.
In time and to a great extent in a managerial capacity, Harvey Thomas led the Guards baseball, and track and field team to many local championships.
He became the trainer of long-distance running champion, the late Jack Bell, and had marked success as mentor and coach of the track team which represented Newfoundland at the Wanderers Sports held at Halifax in the late Twenties.
He is credited with having revived baseball when, following the Armistice of 1945 and the departure of the Americans, that game was in the doldrums.
In his capacity as Sports editor and reporter for the Evening Telegram, in an era when sports reporting was considered an art, Harvey could hold his own with the best. He virtually wrote the history of sport in St. John’s in an era now nostalgically referred to as “The Golden Age”.