Portrait of a Legend: Dan Thompson

The wind blew in off the lake in rural Michigan, rustling the grass of the newly renovated ball field. High school baseball players and their overaggressive parents crowded the field and the stands. One of the teens, a blond slugger licked his lips as he watched the flags in the outfield stretched taut by the wind blowing out over the fence. How far was he going to hit it today?

Meanwhile, half a town away, Dan Thompson was sneaking into a 2nd story bedroom of a lithesome teenage girl. She happened to be the girlfriend of the aforementioned slugger. The slugger struck out in his first at-bat. Dan Thompson did not.

So begins the legend of Dan Thompson. We all remember him as the first Big Sky mega-star. Clean cut, full of boyish charm all we saw was the power and the speed. All we remember is the 80 HR’s and 217 RBI’s in a single season, the career .300 average, the 749 career HR’s. What nobody remembers is his incredibly lethal game outside the game. Up to now, the hidden legacy of Dan Thompson has been kept secret by the players in the locker room and the few reporters who were privy to what was really happening.

First, there is the anecdotal evidence of the high school slugger mentioned above. From a rival high school, the young man named Michael Lownds has been lost to baseball history. But at the time he was the hot prospect in the district. He was the slugger with the bright future and Dan Thompson was the plugger hustling out the infield hit. But after that afternoon when Dan Thompson snuck into the girlfriend’s room, their futures went rapidly the other direction. Lownds crashed out of baseball after one fruitless year in the minors, battling depression and drug addiction. Thompson discovered a penchant for the home run and never looked back on his way to the Majors.

When the Big Sky league formed, he was the first pick, a young man just entering his prime with all the promise in the world. But what is often forgotten these days is that he was not the clear cut star of those early years. In Boston there was another Hall of Famer, Alex Yamamoto. Yamamoto has been overlooked a bit in history, but for the first five seasons he was at least Thompson’s equal. From Seasons 2-5, they each won two AL MVPs.

Hall of Famer Brian Fujiwara, an early teammate of Thompson and a childhood friend of Yamamoto knew them both really well. “Alex worked so hard at his craft. He studied, he worked out. He was the consummate professional. Dan just made everything seem so effortless. He’d show up on game day with that “look” and he would just crush the ball. He was so much fun to play with. As long as you kept your wife at home.”

Yamamoto would have been wise to listen to his friend’s advice. According to a few eyewitnesses who were afraid to come forth at the time, at the all-star game in Season 6, Thompson and Yamamoto’s wife, a legendary pornographic actress from Japan, met and disappeared for an evening. Yamamoto, who up to that point was having his best season ever, faded in the second half of the season, while Thompson took off, slugging an unheard of 40 HR’s post-break, setting the table for his historic Season 7. Nine months after that all-star game, Yamamoto’s wife gave birth to their only son. A surprisingly blonde-haired son. Yamamoto continued to make all-star games for 4 of the next 5 seasons, but he was never the same player. Again, Dan Thompson stole the mojo of his biggest rival.

Anecdotes and rumors circulate about more of Thompson’s conquests, but nothing substantiated until his trade to Toledo. Stories suggest that the trade to Toledo was precipitated by an incident involving the three daughters of the Pride’s General Manager, but there is no evidence. What is more factually based is that Thompson did not take the trade well.

“Toledo? Seriously? What a crappy franchise and an ugly city,” he famously was quoted right after learning about the deal.
“There are zero hot chicks in that dump,” he not so famously told one of his teammates.

He was outstanding his first season in Toledo, winning the NL MVP. Curiously, he was vastly superior on the road that year, hitting almost .380 with an unreal 1.250 OPS.

Reportedly, that offseason, he did apparently find at least one attractive woman in Toledo, the wife of Toledo’s owner. Whispers say that it was her influence that encouraged him to sign the contract extension that he later claimed was his biggest regret of his career.
Here is where his legendary prowess let him down. Some will tell you that he did steal the mojo of the Toledo owner that offseason, but, it was the owner of Black Sheep, so that mojo was not anything positive.

Two seasons later, Thompson was in St Louis, an organization with no control of the locker room, where an aging Thompson spent more time trying to get into women’s beds than he did playing baseball. He never again reached the stratospheric heights of his prime. He personally blamed it on his “cursed time in Toledo,” but in truth it probably had more to do with age and “reputation.”

Dan Thompson, the sexual vampire, would retire after a stint back with the Pride, his original franchise. When asked to look back on his career, he gave only a single quote. “At least I never played in Vancouver.”

4 Responses to “Portrait of a Legend: Dan Thompson”

  • admin:

    There are a few inaccuracies to note. Dan Thompson grew up less then 30 minutes from Toledo so there is perhaps more to his story there. Toledo thought they were welcoming back a hometown hero, but there was literally a line out of the locker room of illegitimate children from Thompson’s high school days looking to meet Daddy for the first time. At the head of the line was that ex- girl friend of Mike Lownds, but she didn’t look like she used to. She was more TLC overweight special than homecoming queen at this point. She became the team “slump buster” in Thompson’s first season, but Thompson of course was busy on the side. But Thompson, like all ballplayers at heart, was desperate for another ring and when the opportunity came in season 11, Thompson knew he had to prevent a slump. In his MVP season 10, he hit a measely .238 in the postseason and it ruined his “game” all winter long. So he did what he had to do, or should I say who he had to do. He slump busted all post season and led the team to a World Series. He hit .433/.500/.800 with 5 homers and 15 RBI. A 1.300 OPS in the postseason is about as good as it gets, but something else happened. He fell in love. He fell in love with not just the success of the postseason, but with every last Twinkie loving pound of Mike Lownd’s high school sweetheart. So he signed on for another year in Toledo and did what he never thought he would do that – become a one woman man. He bought the biggest ring he could find (not that the diamond was big, her fingers were like meatloaves)and headed over to her double wide, but when he walked in his heart was broken. Ugueth Moya had been busting his slump the whole postseason as well to the tune of .373/.439/.686 after he had huger success in the season 10 postseason with her. Thompson made her choose and she liked Moya’s lumber more than Thompson’s. Dan Thompson was never the same again. Oh, by the way, Ugueth Moya won the MVP the next season.

  • B_Rob:

    I would talk about Thompson’s trips to Vegas, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. All I will say is Thompson’s chicken ranch is the bomb.

  • Hank:

    Everyone did Yamamota’s wife (she was a porn star), but Thompson was the first one that she let in the “back door” – rumor has it that his legendarily small size was the reason.

  • Steve:

    I purposely avoided writing about Moya because I didn’t want to get into all the HGH allegations. If you force my hand I will have to write about the “Cartel Connection” regarding Moya, Alfonso Cruz and Walt Weiss.

All Time Leaders

Hits
1. Luther Aldred 3031
2. Alfonzo Cruz 3004
3. Ugueth Moya 2830
4. Orlando Lee 2736
5. Alan Vickers 2643

Home Runs
1. Alfonzo Cruz 811
2. Dan Thompson 749
3. Ugueth Moya 686
4. Jerome Duran 633
5. Ivan Mantalban 602

OPS
1. Rusty Laker 1.021
2. Dan Thompson 1.020
3. Ugueth Moya .989
4. Matty Bennet .984
5. Emil Wilkinson .975

Wins
1. Fernando Neruda 352
2. Geronimo Flores 310
3. Esteban Cubillan 275
4. Frank Dehart 263
5. Shawn Radlosky 257

Strikeouts
1. Fernando Neruda 5038
2. Geronimo Flores 3866
3. Frank Dehart 3356
4. Esteban Cubillan 2955
5. Shawn Radlosky 2871

Saves
1. Jesus Torrealba 694
2. Hal Wagner 636
3. Charles Hall 575
4. Cole Alexander 488
5. Augie Martin 478