Danny Thompson (baseball)
|Born: February 1, 1947
|Died: December 10, 1976
|June 25, 1970 for the Minnesota Twins|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1976 for the Texas Rangers|
|Runs batted in||194|
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Thompson grew up in tiny Capron, Oklahoma, and played college baseball at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, where he was an All-American. He broke into the majors with the Minnesota Twins in 1970 and had his first full season in 1972; he played for them until June 1976, when he and pitcher Bert Blyleven were traded to the Texas Rangers for four others in a six-player deal.
Following a routine pre-season physical the day before his 26th birthday, Thompson was called in for additional tests and diagnosed with granulocytic leukemia in early February 1973, but he continued his major league career for the next four seasons. He received the Hutch Award in Seattle following the 1974 season, and batted .270 in 1975, leading all American League shortstops.
Thompson appeared in 98 games in 1976, and went 1 for 3 in his final start for the Rangers on September 29, appropriately at shortstop in Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium. In his final game on October 2, less than ten weeks before his death, he was used as a pinch hitter.
Thompson was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on November 16, underwent spleen surgery on December 3, and died a week later from complications at St. Mary's Hospital. Thompson was just 29, leaving behind a wife and two young daughters. His funeral was attended by hundreds at the high school gymnasium in Burlington, Oklahoma, and he was buried nearby at the cemetery in his hometown of Capron.
During the 1977 season, members of the Texas Rangers wore a black armband with the No. 4 on their left uniform sleeve. Examples of this tribute can be seen in the 1978 Topps baseball card set.
An annual golf tournament honoring Thompson is held in late August in Sun Valley, Idaho. The Danny Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, benefiting leukemia and cancer research, was launched in 1977 by the hall of famer Harmon Killebrew (1936–2011), a former teammate with the Twins; and Ralph Harding (1929–2006), a former Idaho congressman. The tournament has donated over $8.6 million since its inception, and is now the "Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament." Killebrew was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late 2010 and passed away five months later at age 74.
- "Leukemia threatens Thompson's baseball career". Wilmington Morning Star (North Carolina). UPI. June 19, 1973. p. 16.
- "Tough to accept at first, but Danny battles hurlers, leukemia". Rome News-Tribune (Georgia). UPI. June 24, 1973. p. 4C.
- "Blyleven, Thompson happy about trade to Rangers". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida). Associated Press. June 3, 1976. p. 5E.
- Kallestad, Brent (June 2, 1976). "Blyleven traded to Texas in six-player transaction". Lewiston Daily Sun (Maine). Associated Press. p. 20.
- "Despite his leukemia, shortstop looks ahead". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). Associated Press. February 22, 1973. p. 4C.
- "Baseballer dies at 29". Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. December 11, 1976. p. 18.
- "Thompson gets 'Hutch' award". Boca Raton News (Florida). UPI. November 27, 1974. p. 1B.
- "Thompson dies of leukemia". Wilmington Morning Star (North Carolina). UPI. Dec 11, 1976. p. 14.
- "Danny Thompson". Baseball Reference. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Richman, Milton (December 14, 1976). "Danny Thompson: A manager's player". Eugene Register-Guard (Oregon). UPI. p. 5B.
- "Danny Thompson and Larry Hisle found peace this Christmas". Boca Raton News (Florida). December 29, 1976. p. 11A.
- "Dan Thompson: 'never too busy'". The Morning Record (Meriden, Connecticut). Associated Press. December 14, 1976. p. 8.
- "Large funeral for Thompson". Kiowa News (Kansas). UPI. December 16, 1976. p. 1.
- "Killebrew not upset over star deletion". Schenectady Gazette (New York). Associated Press. July 25, 1972. p. 16.
- "Killebrew plans 2nd charity golf". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah). Associated Press. July 13, 1978. p. B13.
- "Harmon Killebrew sponsors tourney". Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. August 2, 1979. p. 26.
- Benson, Lee (August 22, 1980). "Still hitting 'em straight - sometimes". Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah). Associated Press. p. 4B.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Project Baseball 1976: Danny Thompson
- Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament - official site
- Idaho Mountain Express - Danny Thompson Golf Tournament - 17-Aug-2007
- Sun Valley Guide - Danny Thompson Golf Tournament - Summer 2003
- Danny Thompson at Find a Grave