Tuesday, January 12, 2016

#490 - Jason Thompson

What a card: Jason Thompson was entering the last full season of his 11-year career when this card was issued.

My observation on the front: Thompson was known as a fine fielder, but this is the only time that Topps showed him fielding (Donruss showed Thompson fielding in back-to-back sets in 1983 and 1984).

More opinion from me: I've told this story a few times already, but it's the first thing I think of when I hear the name Jason Thompson. The Tigers, for whom Thompson was expected to be a big star, were playing in the Game Of The Week on NBC in 1980. It wasn't the main featured game, it was the backup game, which meant the backup announcing crew. Instead of Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek, we had Merle Harmon and Ron Luciano. Luciano, the former umpire, was in his first season as a color man for NBC. He was awful. The worst. Think of the worst broadcaster you've ever heard; he was that. He had no clue what he was doing, and he was forever trying to be a comedian and all of his jokes bombed. So, anyway, Thompson was at the plate. He wasn't doing well and everyone was wondering what became of the man who was supposed to be a mainstay in Detroit for years. Luciano decided it was because Thompson didn't have "the killer instinct." I'm pretty sure he came up with that idea right on the spot. But he worked it for all it was worth. Thompson just doesn't have it. He doesn't have that killer instinct. Luciano said it five or six times. Well, it might have been the next pitch or not, but it was pretty soon after Luciano uttered "killer instinct" for the last time and Thompson nailed a pitch that traveled faster than any home run out of the ballpark that I had seen to that date. So much for "killer instinct." I never knew whether Luciano and Harmon backtracked in embarrassment because my brother and I were too busy hooting over Luciano. By the way, Luciano is from the same town as I am. So, yeah.

Something you might know: Thompson emerged quickly as a slugger for the Tigers, and he hit 31 home runs and drove in 105 batters as a 22-year-old in 1977. He was known for hitting titanic blasts over the roofs of stadiums.

Something you might not know: Thompson was traded to the Yankees, but he never played for them. The Angels traded Thompson to the Pirates, who turned around and shipped him to the Yankees. But the commissioner voided the trade to the Yankees because too much money was involved in the deal, and Thompson was returned to the team that didn't even want him.

My observation on the back: Cal State Northridge picked a good year to induct Thompson. 1982 was perhaps his best season.

The blog wants to speak now: The Movies category is updated.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Luciano may not have been much of a broadcaster, but his books are hilarious.