The dingers brought his name back to the attention of Major League Baseball, and when Milwaukee made him an offer, beer was one of the things that sold him on the city.
"I came to Milwaukee before I signed, checked it out, and after an hour I knew it was where I wanted to be. I love the Midwest. I love the hospitality of people. And Milwaukee has great beer," Thames told USA Today's Bob Nightengale. "I love beer."
So far, Brewers fans are drunk on the returns. Entering Wednesday, Thames was slashing .426/.491/1.000 through 13 games with an MLB-leading seven home runs and 17 runs scored.
Thames started playing in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2014, and became the first 40-40 player in league history in 2015.
"I thought the coolest thing in the world was getting more walks than strikeouts," Thames said. "But I tell you, getting on base so much and stealing all of those bases, I was exhausted."
While he's yet to steal a base in his MLB return, his other contributions have helped the Brewers compile a surprising 8-7 record entering Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs - half a game ahead of the defending World Series champions.