Inductee — Sam Thompson

Thompson2_1Sam Thompson

Class of 1979

Birthplace: Danville, IN




Born in 1860 in Danville and passed away in 1922 in Detroit, Michigan. He played for Detroit(NL) from 1885-88. When Detroit dissolved in 1888 he was sold to Philadelphia and played there from 1889-98. In 1906, after retiring, Detroit talked him into playing the last eight games of the season because they were so plagued by injuries and at the age of 46 he hit .226 having difficulty hitting the spitter. He hit more home runs in the dead ball era than anyone else, and held the record until it was broken by Babe Ruth in 1921. In 1887 he had a banner season hitting .372, had a .571 slugging percentage, 203 hits , 23 triples and had 166 RBIs all which were league leading numbers. In addition to his offensive skill he was quite a defensive outfielder with a great throwing arm for the era. He became the first outfielder to be able to throw to home plate from the outfield on the fly. Three times he led the league in hits 1887, 1890, and 1893 the year in which he had 222; led the league twice in RBIs and slugging percentage. In 1974 he was inducted into the National Hall of Fame.