Big Sam Thompson was a Philadelphia Phillies legendary outfielder who I’ve blogged about before. Sam was finally accorded his due, being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974, with his primary team identified as the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ask anyone of my era who the greatest Phillies right fielder of all time was, and no doubt Johnny Callison would be placed high on the list. I loved watching Johnny play, but his stats don’t hold a candle to what Big Sam Thompson accomplished as a right fielder for the Phils in the mid 1890s. Consider this: Callison’s golden year was in 1962 when he hit .300 with an .854 OPS. Thompson’s was in 1894 when he hit over .400 with a 1.161 OPS. That was the magical year in which all of the Phillies outfielders, Big Sam, Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, and the reserve Tuck Turner all hit over .400.
Move over Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson. 1894 was also noteworthy for the failed attempt by baseball owners to draw fans to their fallow stadia in the winter. According to Philly Sports History, Big Sam Thompson was a crossover football/soccer player for the Philadelphia Phillies team playing football that year, but the experimental league was short-lived. (They must have played like the Eagles played today.) Big Sam was finally inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame this year, which seems almost anti-climactic, except there is one more oversight of Big Sam that needs to be corrected – getting a plaque for him on the Phillies Wall of Fame in Citizens Bank Park.
Don Thompson wrote about Sam for the SABR Baseball Biography Project, and created a bobblehead figurine to help honor Sam’s Hall of legacy.
I received mine in the mail today, and it is stunning! You can obtain the bobblehead from Don Thompson for $40 plus postage, by writing to him at 8247 E. Laguna Azul Avenue, Mesa, AZ 85209.