TheBaseballPage.com

Robby Thompson

Robby Thompson

Position(s):
2B, SS
Born:
May 10, 1962
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 11"
Weight:
165 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-08-1986 with SFN
Allstar Selections:
1993 GG, 1993 SS

Robert Randall "Robby" Thompson (born May 10, 1962) is a former American professional baseball player and current coach.[1] He played his entire career in Major League Baseball as the second baseman for the San Francisco Giants from 1986 to 1996.[1] Thompson is the current bench coach for the Seattle Mariners.[2] He was known as a team leader for the Giants during their resurgence in the late 1980s, who played the game with a gritty determination.[3]

Contents

 

Baseball career

Thompson was born in West Palm Beach, Florida.[1] He attended Forest Hill Community High School in West Palm Beach, where he played high school baseball for the Forest Hill Falcons. Thompson received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in 1983 where, he played for coach Jack Rhine's Florida Gators baseball team. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 1983 Major League Baseball Draft, and decided to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility.[4] In 1985 while playing for the Shreveport Captains in the Texas League, he posted a .261 batting average along with 9 home runs and was named to the league All-Star team.[5][6]

Thompson made his major league debut with the Giants on April 8, 1986 at the age of 24.[1] In June, he became the first player in major league history to be caught stealing four times in one game (three occurred during attempted hit and run plays).[7] Despite his rocky start, Thompson ended the season with a .271 batting average as the Giants leadoff hitter and provided steady defense.[1] He won the The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award and, finished second to Todd Worrell in the 1986 National League Rookie of the Year Award.[8][9] In what would be a recurring theme throughout his career, Thompson had to undergo surgery at the end of the season to have cartilage removed from his right knee.[10]

Thompson continued to perform well defensively in 1987, teaming up with Giants shortstop José Uribe to form one of the best double play combinations in baseball and, helped the Giants lead the major leagues with 183 double plays.[11] The Giants clinched the National League Western Division title by six games over the Cincinnati Reds.[12] In the 1987 National League Championship Series, Thompson played in pain with a bulging disc but, still played well defensively helping the Giants set a playoff record with 10 double plays.[10][11] He also hit 1 home run and had 2 runs batted in as, the Giants were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game series.[13]

In 1988, Thompson was hitting above .300 at mid-season to earn a spot as a reserve on the 1988 National League All-Star team.[14][15] Unfortunately, he was once again plagued by an injury and had to miss the game due to a pinched nerve in his leg.[16] Brett Butler took over as the Giants leadoff hitter and, Thompson, as the new number two hitter in the batting order, struggled to make contact, striking out 111 times and ending the year with a .264 average.[1]

Thompson continued to be nagged by injuries in 1989 as his batting average dropped to .241 however, he led the National League with 11 triples and scored a career-high 91 runs while hitting ahead of Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell in the batting order.[1][17] The Giants once again won the Western Division crown and faced the Chicago Cubs in the 1989 National League Championship Series.[18] Thompson hit 2 home runs in the series including a game-winning, two-run home run in Game 3 as the Giants went on to win the series in five games.[19][20] Thompson was held to only one hit in the 1989 World Series against the Oakland Athletics as the Giants were swept in four straight games.[21]

Thompson's best year statistically was in 1993 when he was hitting for a .325 average at mid-season to earn his second All-Star selection however, a leg injury would once again force him to miss the game.[22][23][24] The Giants had a nine-game lead on August 11 but faltered in September and were caught by the Atlanta Braves though, by no fault of Thompson who increased his offensive output late in the season including a period in August where he hit home runs in five consecutive games.[22][25] With 10 games left in the season on September 24, Thompson suffered a broken cheek bone when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Trevor Hoffman of the San Diego Padres. He missed 8 games due to the injury but, with the Giants and Braves tied for first place, Thompson returned to play the final game of the season.[22] Despite his determination, playing with a bloodshot eye and wearing a clear plastic mask in the field, the Giants lost the pennant on the last day of the season.[25][26]

Thompson ended the season with career highs in batting average (.312), doubles (30), home runs (19) and runs batted in (65).[1] Although Thompson was one of the best fielding second basemen in the National League, he was often overlooked in post-season awards because his playing career coincided with that of Baseball Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.[27] By 1993, Sandberg was past his prime and Thompson finally received recognition when he won the Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence and, the Silver Slugger Award which is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position.[28][29] He was rewarded by the Giants in November when he signed a three-year contract for $12 million, making him the second-highest paid second baseman in baseball after Ryne Sandberg.[30]

During spring training in 1994, Thompson received a scare when he was hit on the left ear flap of his batting helmet by pitcher Mike Harkey of the Colorado Rockies.[31] Thompson later stated the two beanings by Hoffman and Harkey were on his mind when he batted during games.[32][33] In May, he went onto the disabled list and missed almost two months of the season.[34] He returned in late June but, played in only seven games before undergoing surgery on his right shoulder and missed the rest of the season.[35] Thompson's injuries continued to hamper his playing time in 1995 and in September, he had to undergo surgery again, this time on his left shoulder.[36] He returned to play in 1996 but, injuries continued to take their toll as he appeared in only 63 games.[1][3] Thompson played his last major league game on September 22, 1996 at the age of 34.[1]

Thompson was known for the well-used baseball glove he played with for almost his entire career.[37] Thompson was offended when the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story titled, Thompson's Ugly, Pathetic Glove is a Gem.[37] His teammate, Rich Aurilia, who played at shortstop next to Thompson near the end of his career said,"I think by the time Robby was done, the glove mainly consisted of pine tar and chew spit. I don't even know how much leather was left in it. I know for a fact Robby still has that glove."[37]

Career statistics

In an eleven-year major league career, Thompson played in 1,304 games, accumulating 1,187 hits in 4,612 at bats for a .257 career batting average along with 119 home runs, 458 runs batted in and a .329 on base percentage.[1] He led the National League in triples in 1989 with 11 and, he finished his career with a .983 fielding percentage.[1] Thompson led National League second basemen in double plays for three consecutive seasons from 1990 to 1992.[38] He hit for the cycle in a game on April 22, 1991.[39]

A two-time All-Star, Thompson was the recipient of one Gold Glove Award and one Silver Slugger Award. He won the Willie Mac Award in 1991, honoring his spirit and leadership.[40] At the time of his retirement, Thompson was the all-time leader among Giants second basemen in games (1,304), at bats (4,612), runs (671), hits (1,187), doubles (238), triples (39), home runs (119), runs batted in (458), stolen bases (103), fielding percentage (.983) and double plays (873).[3][41]

Coaching career

Thompson served as the Giants first base coach in 2000 and 2001.[3] He was hired by the Cleveland Indians as a first base coach in December 2001.[42] In 2003 he was promoted to special assistant to the Cleveland Indians General Manager before returning to the field in June 2005 as the Indians' bench coach.[43] In November 2010, Thompson was hired by the Seattle Mariners as their bench coach.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Robby Thompson statistics". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/thompro01.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Mariners add Chambliss, Thompson to coach staff". Seattle Times. 4 November 2010. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013349241_apbbamarinerscoachingstaff.html. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Johanson, Matt (2007). San Francisco Giants (Game of My Life). Books.Google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=UiSSpUxmRhQC&pg=PA127&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en&ei=TOFxTYzOFZOltwel8K3vDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=robby%20thompson&f=false. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "1983 Major League Baseball Draft, First Round". thebaseballcube.com. http://www.thebaseballcube.com/draft/rounds.asp?Y=1983&R=1&P=June-Sec. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  5. ^ "Robby Thompson minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=thomps009rob. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  6. ^ "Area Pro Report". Gainesville Sun: p. 19. 21 July 1985. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=vMERAAAAIBAJ&sjid=tukDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3934,1419902&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Thompson Sets Wrong Mark". Rome News-Tribune. Associated Press: p. 19. 29 June 1986. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=kBgwAAAAIBAJ&sjid=IjYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6594,4849614&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 1 March 2011. 
  8. ^ "Schmidt, Mattingly selected top players". Reading Eagle: p. 44. 22 October 1986. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=rLcxAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iuQFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6337,482552&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "1986 National League Rookie of the Year Award". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1986.shtml#NLroy. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Getting back on top helps ease the pain for former Falcon". The Palm Beach Post: p. 1. 13 October 1987. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=tR0jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=Ts8FAAAAIBAJ&pg=1566,5741089&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  11. ^ a b "Thompson Doubles Pleasure". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press: p. 6. 7 October 1987. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=NoFfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ZzAMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3978,2982575&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "1987 National League Team Statistics and Standings". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1987.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "1987 National League Championship Series". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1987_NLCS.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "1988 Robby Thompson batting log". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=thompro01&t=b&year=1988. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  15. ^ "1988 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NLS/NLS198807120.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "Injury means Thompson not an All-Star". The Modesto Bee. Bee News Services: p. 3. 11 July 1988. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=f0cjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jswFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3375,245401&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  17. ^ "NLCS Matchups". The Milwaukee Journal: p. 4. 4 October 1989. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=cjAcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=ESwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6963,4380763&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  18. ^ "1989 San Francisco Giants". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/1989.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  19. ^ "1989 National League Championship Series". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1989_NLCS.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  20. ^ "Thompson's 2-run blast wins for Giants". Rock Hill Herald. Associated Press: p. 1. 8 October 1989. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wistAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hbsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5020,6917499&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  21. ^ "1989 World Series". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1989_WS.shtml. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c "1993 Robby Thompson batting log". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=thompro01&t=b&year=1993. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  23. ^ "1993 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALS/ALS199307130.shtml. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  24. ^ "Thompson uncertain about All-Star Game". Lodi News-Sentinel. McClatchy News Service: p. 13. 10 July 1993. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=adkzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RTIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=6896,995406&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "1993 San Francisco Giants". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SFG/1993-schedule-scores.shtml. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  26. ^ "Bonds not the cause of San Francisco's downfall". The Post and Courier. Associated Press: p. 4. 5 October 1993. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=sV5SAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FTcNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1415,1837727&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  27. ^ Cunningham, Bob (July 1995). Middle Infielders Discuss Techniques of 'Turning Two'. Books.Google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=1yoDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA36&dq=robby+thompson+baseball+digest&hl=en&ei=VchxTcydDY2gtwfu4_juDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=robby%20thompson%20baseball%20digest&f=false. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  28. ^ "1993 Gold Glove Award Winners". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/gold_glove_nl.shtml#1993. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  29. ^ "1993 Silver Slugger Award Winners". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/silver_slugger_nl.shtml#1993. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  30. ^ "Giants sign Robby Thompson". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press: p. 15. 15 November 1993. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=6JQzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=UTIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=2537,1732736&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  31. ^ "Jordan's agonizing wait for 1st hit ends against Twins". The Milwaukee Journal. Journal Wire Reports: p. 2. 15 March 1994. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=WnEaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=viwEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1416,7427001&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  32. ^ Kurkjian, Tim. "Missing Persons". www.sportsillustrated.cnn.com. June 6 1994
  33. ^ Harding, Thomas. "Giants Hunt Heads, Bag Win". Gazette, The (Colorado Springs). June 28, 2000.
  34. ^ "1994 Robby Thompson batting log". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=thompro01&t=b&year=1994. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  35. ^ "Thompson out for year". Sarasota Herald Tribune: p. 4. 9 July 1994. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=_7kcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=X3wEAAAAIBAJ&pg=2401,4014292&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  36. ^ "Bonds Messes Up Several Times As Pirates Nip Giants". The Vindicator: p. 3. 18 September 1995. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=DBBIAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3YAMAAAAIBAJ&pg=1547,2125121&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  37. ^ a b c Stone, Larry (August 2004). For The Love of a Glove. Books.Google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=7S0DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=dave+valle+baseball+digest&source=bl&ots=a2IEzKiJvK&sig=FpXlF9Ph9LVqdPg65LAqHbJxABE&hl=en&ei=Mew6TMeNIMSqlAe2oNXSBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBEQ6AEwADgo#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  38. ^ Stone, Larry (December 1993). In '93, Robby Thompson Came of Age As A Clutch Hitter. Books.Google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=xioDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA46&dq=robby+thompson+baseball+digest&hl=en&ei=VchxTcydDY2gtwfu4_juDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=robby%20thompson%20baseball%20digest&f=false. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  39. ^ "Thompson Hits For Cycle; Giants Still Lose 7-5". The Albany Herald. Associated Press: p. 3. 23 April 1991. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=eC9DAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VK0MAAAAIBAJ&pg=1012,3631392&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  40. ^ "Willie Mac Award Winners". Baseball Almanac. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/awards/willie_mac_award.shtml. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  41. ^ "Giants buy out Robby Thompson". Lodi News-Sentinel. Associated Press: p. 16. 4 October 1996. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=B9gzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=VyEGAAAAIBAJ&pg=5964,3237920&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  42. ^ "Red Sox acquire Reese, Burkett". Herald Journal. Associated Press: p. 4. 19 December 2001. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=OS8fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=FtAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5755,2115789&dq=robby+thompson&hl=en. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  43. ^ "Indians hire Robby Thompson as interim bench coach". Channel3000.com. 4 June 2005. http://www.channel3000.com/mlb/4569754/detail.html. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
This day in baseball history

July 11

  • 1985

    On July 11, 1985, Nolan Ryan of the Houston Astros becomes t ...

  • 1976

    On July 11, 1976, the Atlanta Braves stage an unusual promot ...

  • 1974

    On July 11, 1974, the San Diego Padres release Matty Alou, e ...

More Baseball History

Sponsored Links

 
Tagged:
1989 World Series, Baseball History, Gold Glove, Robby Thompson, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Silver Slugger Award

Comments

Login or register to post comments

Stay Connected

Share |

Today's Poll

Will Red Sox Repeat in 2014:
Browse Player Profiles