Today’s Tiger: Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson

  • Born: July 6, 1954 in Hollywood, Calif.
  • Bats: Left Throws: Left
  • Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 200 lb.
  • Acquired: Drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 1975 amateur draft.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 5 (1976-80)
  • Uniform Number: 30
  • Stats: .256 avg., 98 HR, 354 RBI, .779 OPS
  • Awards: Three-time All Star (1977, ’78 and ’82)

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On May 27, 1980, Tigers GM Jim Campbell traded my favorite player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens.

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

Continue reading “Today’s Tiger: Jason Thompson”

Tigers Today: June 26, 2010

Tigers’ Record:

39-33, 2nd place; 1/2-game behind Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Braves | 4 p.m. ET – Turner Field | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Max Scherzer (4-6, 5.67 ERA) vs. RH Kenshin Kawakami (0-9, 4.78 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Braves 3 – Tigers 1 | Fungo Recap

Continue reading “Tigers Today: June 26, 2010”

Fungo Flashback: May 27, 1980: The Day the Tigers Traded Jason Thompson

Thirty years ago today the Tigers traded my favorite player, Jason Thompson, to the Angels for Al Cowens. Here’s a piece I wrote two years ago about the deal. Get a load of my thoughts on Miguel Cabrera who had recently been moved to first base. Another gleaming example of why I’m not fit to be a GM.


JasonThompson.jpgTwenty-eight years ago today, Tigers GM Jim Campbell broke my heart.

On May 27, 1980, he traded my favorite Tigers player, first baseman Jason Thompson, to the California Angels for outfielder Al Cowens. (For more on Cowens, check out this post from the archives.)

The Hollywood native joined the Tigers full time in 1976 and played 123 games that year, hitting .218, with 17 home runs and 54 RBI. Two of the homers cleared the rightfield roof at Tiger Stadium. It was in 1977, though, that he made his mark: .270, 31 homers and 105 RBI — and earned an All Star Game selection.

Continue reading “Fungo Flashback: May 27, 1980: The Day the Tigers Traded Jason Thompson”

Tigers Today: April 16, 2010

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Tigers’ Record: 6-3 — Tied for 1st

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Mariners | 10:10 p.m. ET – Safeco Field, Seattle | On the air: FSD PLUS/1270 AM

Pitching Matchup

Jeremy Bonderman (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (0-0, 3.29 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Off Day

Tigers History Lesson

Today’s Birthdays

On this Date in Tigers History

Tigers Today: April 1, 2010

Apologies for the late post. The benefit is that I have today’s results. BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Spring Training Record: 18-10-2

Today’s Games

Tigers 4 – Braves 1

The Tigers dinged Jair Jurrjens for a pair of runs on Don Kelly‘s home run and Eddie Bonine pitched four scoreless, one-hit innings to pace the Tigers in the front end of Grapefruit League finale.

Tigers 4 – Astros 2

The only worthwhile tidbit about this matchup of Tigers minor leaguers versus primetime Astros is former Tiger Chris Shelton appearing in the game for Houston. Oh, Brandon Lyon and Tim Byrdak pitched for the Astros.

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 1, 2010”

An Ides of March Sunday Buffet

Sometimes there’s so much to talk about that it’s better to throw it all out there in no particular order…

  • Yeah, yeah. Pudge Rodriguez dipped himself in the Fountain of Youth in the offseason and is showing some zest in the World Baseball Classic. Any team that thinks he’ll perform at this level for a full season — at least as a number-one catcher — is fooling their bad selves. It was interesting, though, to see the number of teams (beyond the Marlins) reportedly interested in signing Señor Ivan. Among them, the Astros (where he’d replace, sorta, another former Tigers catcher, Brad Ausmus), the Twins (?!) and the Giants. Apparently the Marlins are waiting for him to come to grips with not being a full-time player in 2009.

    Then again, if Pudge withers at the end of the WBC, he could be looking at a longer wait.

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  • First it was Kerry Wood. Then Carl Pavano. Now it looks like the Indians are among the clubs eyeing Pedro Martinez. Given fifth-starter issues the Tigers are facing (we’re talking about you, Nate and Dontrelle), wouldn’t you think the Tigers would at least place a call? Who knows, maybe they already have. But if by some bizarre twist of fate, Pavano and Martinez are part of a Cleveland post-season rotation, it’s going to make one Tigers-blog-writin’ guy mighty unhappy.

  • Last week I attended three Cactus League games (of varying quality) with my pals Steve and John, who flew in from Detroit. The first game (Indians/Brewers) was about as ugly a contest as you can imagine — even by Spring Training standards. Final: Brewers 17 – Indians 7.

    The only notable thing to come out of it was that the Tribe rolls out 90-year-old Bob Feller (pictured) to sign autographs at every home Cactus League game. I didn’t get an autograph nor did I overhear Feller rail on how Jackie Robinson couldn’t/wouldn’t make it in the big leagues, as Feller did back in the day.

    Bob Feller
    The second game, Dodgers versus Mariners at the beauteous new Camelback Ranch facility in Glendale, featured two former Tigers sightings. The first was a silver-haired Jim Slaton, now pitching coach for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas, and as you might have read this week in the News, Mariners’ non-roster invitee Chris Shelton. It was nice to see him still in the mix somewhere.

    The final game was no-thrills tilt between the Rockies and Padres in Tucson. Todd Helton homered in his first at bat and that was enough for me. Oh, and a big thumbs-down to Hi Corbett Field for not accepting credit cards for concessions. I had to pay the $2.25 ATM charge instead. Bush league.

Finally, today’s the birthday of bad seed/jackass and former Tiger Robert Fick. He’s 35 today.

Sunday Tidbits

imagescoffeecupceramic.jpgOnly on rare occasions do I find Tigers-related nuggets in my local paper, The Arizona Republic, and today qualifies as a rare occasion. Here’s one such item from the (excellent) blog of Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro:

Something we forgot to mention: The Diamondbacks were serious players for Brandon Lyon before Lyon signed with the Tigers, a deal that was finalized on Monday.

Only the Diamondbacks wanted Lyon for their rotation.

General Manager Josh Byrnes said earlier this week that Lyon received “better finances” from the Tigers. Lyon goes to Detroit as the favorite to win the closer’s job.

Lyon’s agent, Barry Meister, said Lyon was interested in the idea of starting, but timing stood in the way of making a deal happen.

“We had gotten pretty much to the end in Detroit,” Meister said, “and we were unable to change gears and do something with Arizona. Sometimes it’s just a timing issue and that was the case here.”

Given what Lynn Henning wrote this morning about the Tigers having seven starting pitchers, perhaps he’ll want to bump that number to eight?

Second tidbit: According to Piecoro, the D-backs may have big plans for former Tigers farmhand, Arizona Rule-5 pickup James Skelton:

General Manager Josh Byrnes said Rule 5 pick James Skelton already has reported to Tucson and is working with coaches Jack Howell, Chip Hale, Lorenzo Bundy and others. He’s hitting, taking ground balls, working in the weight room, etc.

It will be very interesting to see how Skelton looks at positions other than catcher, where he has played almost exclusively in the minor leagues with Detroit. He played a lot of middle infield in high school, and Byrnes wouldn’t rule out the idea of Skelton seeing time in the outfield as well.

“Athletically, he can do it,” Byrnes said.

So — and yes, we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here — could he be in the mix at second base in 2010?

“That’s not the plan,” Byrnes said. “But he has a background there, he’s athletic enough to do it, has a nice bat and with his body type, maybe that’s the spot for him.”

Maybe Skelton will be a reverse-Chris Shelton situation for the Tigers. Given how Big Red’s career evaporated, let’s hope that’s not the case for Skelton.

Finally, if you’re watching the Super Bowl today root for the Cardinals. It would be nice to have a team from my town win the final football game of the year. And I don’t mean the Pro Bowl.

Wednesday Walewanders

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  • Dontrelle Willis returns to the D as a reliever. If he continues to pitch the way he has in Spring Training and early in the regular season, his name might very well end up ahead of Damion Easley as the Tigers most expensive contract-as-main-course ever. Rob Neyer‘s already weighed in on the move.

  • Speaking of Mr. Neyer, in case you haven’t listened, today I posted an interview with him on the podcast. He thinks the Tigers are still very much alive in the A.L. Central; it’s Kenny Rogers and Willis, Neyer’s all but certain, who’re finished.

  • In case you need one more article on the effect of Jim Leyland‘s verbal fireworks, check out Mike Bauman‘s column on MLB.com.

  • Baseball and poetry? Why not? In college I penned a poem about my first game at Tiger Stadium. At BardBall.com, Tigers fan Jim Garner publishes baseball poetry — doggerel to be exact (I had to look it up). He’s featuring a poem on Freddy Dolsi’s first major league pitch. You remember it, the one to Manny Ramirez that might still be sailing. Here’s a sampling:

    Freddy went down the middle

    To show off his heat.

    Manny clobbered that apple

    Five hundred feet.

  • Remember Andrew Miller? (Ahem.) He has a birthday today — his 23rd. Other former Tigers celebrating include: Bryce Florie, Bob Molinaro and Earl Averill.

  • Wondering how some former Tigers are faring with their new clubs? Me too:
    • Chris Shelton, Rangers: .179, 2 HR, 3 RBI
    • Wil Ledezma, Padres: 0-1, 3.54 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
    • Tony Clark, Padres: .238, 0 HR, 1 RBI
    • Mike Rabelo, Marlins: .219, 1 HR, 7 RBI

    And here comes the Omaha Royals Trio:

    • Mike Maroth: 0-2, 12.91 ERA in three starts (7.2 IP)
    • Roman Colon: 0-0, 6.30 ERA in 10 IP
    • Jason Smith: .253, 10 HR, 27 RBI (His 10 homers lead the team.)

Finally, from Baseball-Reference.com, on this date in 1967, Earl Wilson gives Detroit its third straight win over the Yankees, 9-4. Mickey Mantle hits his fifth homer in six games but it’s not enough for Whitey Ford, who appears in his last ML game.

Happy Birthday, Ryan Raburn and Other Notes

Raburn turns 27 today.

A bevy of Tigers historical items occurred on this date in history. Here they are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

1955Al Kaline hits three home runs in Briggs Stadium, including a pair in the sixth inning, to drive in six runs. The Tigers rout the A’s 16-0, behind Steve Gromek‘s strong pitching.
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1960 – Cleveland Indians general manager Frank Lane, notorious for his multiple transactions, send American League home run king, Rocky Colavito, to the Detroit Tigers for the league’s defending batting champion, Harvey Kuenn. The trade is especially unpopular with Indians fans, who regard Colavito as their most popular player and best hitter.

1993 – The Detroit Tigers score 20 runs in a game for the second time this week, beating the Seattle Mariners, 20 – 3. Rob Deer is 1-for-2 and scores four runs, while Travis Fryman has four hits and scores five times. Chad Kreuter adds four hits and three runs and Gary Thurman paces the Tigers with four RBI. [Editor’s note: Gary Thurman?!]

2006 – Detroit’s Chris Shelton and St. Louis’ Albert Pujols hit their major league-leading ninth home runs, joining Mike Schmidt (1976), Larry Walker (1997) and Luis Gonzalez (2001) as the only players in MLB history with at least nine home runs in his team’s first 13 games.