Saturday, August 25, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #291 - Jason Thompson


  • Jason Thompson was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1975. He was 6'4" and weighed 200 pounds. Jason spent half of a season with AA Montgomery and put up good numbers (.324, 10 HR, 38 RBI in 75 games)
  • Jason started the 1976 season in AAA, but he didn't stay there long. After four games Thompson was called up when catcher Milt May was injured. He started off well, but tailed off later in the season. Jason batted .218 with 17 HR and 54 RBI in 128 games in his rookie season.
  • Thompson was voted as the first baseman on the Topps Rookie All Star Team.
  • At the age of 22 Thompson became a star. He led the Tigers in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage and was on the AL All Star team (he didn't play in the game).
  • Jason had another good year in 1978. He batted .287 with 26 HR and 96 RBI. He made his second straight AL All Star team and was 0 for 1 in the game.
  • Thompson was unhappy as the 1979 season started. The Tigers got off to a slow start and he was being shuffled around in the batting order by manager Les Moss. Jason also took exception to teammate Ron LeFlore's remarks about Rusty Staub's holdout. Thompson's stats took a dip --- he batted .246 with 20 HR and 79 RBI.
  • In 1980 Thompson started slowly. After 36 games he was batting .214 with 4 HR and 20 RBI. On May 27 Jason was traded to the California Angels for Al Cowens. Thompson played much better for the Angels and ended up batting .288 with 21 HR and 90 RBI for the season.
  • Jason was on the move again in 1981. He won his arbitration case against the Angels -- the team offered $250,000 and Thompson asked for $395,000. On April 1 Thompson was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ed Ott and Mickey Mahler. The Pirates turned around and traded Jason to the New York Yankees for Jim Spencer and cash, but that deal was invalidated by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Thompson ended up staying with the Pirates. Thompson batted .242 with 15 HR and 42 RBI in 89 games during the strike-shortened season.
  • Thompson had a good bounce-back year in 1982. He batted .284 with 31 HR and 101 RBI during the regular season and made the NL All Star team. Jason was 0 for 1 in the game. After the 1982 season Thompson signed a 5-year contract with the Pirates that was worth more than $1 million a year.
  • The next three seasons were decent, but not as good as some of Jason's previous years. Knee and hamstring injuries began to take their toll. Jason played regularly, but the injuries hampered his stats. In 1983 Thompson batted .259 with 18 HR and 76 RBI. Thompson batted .254 with 17 HR and 74 RBI in 1984 and in 1985 he batted .241 with 12 HR and 61 RBI.
  • Before the 1986 season Jason was traded to the Montreal Expos for two minor leaguers. The trade of Thompson allowed the Pirates to play Sid Bream at first base. Jason didn't do much for the Expos, batting .196 in 30 games. Thompson was released on June 30 and that was it for his major league career.
  • Thompson now operates Jason Thompson Baseball, which offers baseball instruction and camps.
  • 1977 Stats: .270, 31 HR, 105 RBI
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs:  1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986

1 comment:

  1. I was excited to pick up this card at a flea market (or maybe a trade?) in the mid-80s. I always loved the rookie cup cards. Thompson turned out to be a better hitter than I remember (although his career slid downhill really fast).