Big Sam Thompson

Baseball’s Greatest Clutch Hitter


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About the Book

Forgotten today, Sam Thompson (1860–1922) was one of the most dominant five skills players of his era. At the plate, he batted .331, was second among 19th century players in home runs, and ranks first all-time in RBI per game (.923). In his prime, he averaged 25 steals a season. Defensively, he registered 283 outfield assists (12th all-time), and is first among all outfielders (with 1,000+ games) in his ratio of assists per game with one every 4.9 games.
Using a primitive fielding glove with no webbing or pocket, he compiled the highest fielding average of any outfielder (1,000+ games) who completed his career before 1900. At age 46, 10 years after his last full major league season, Thompson played eight games for the injury-plagued Detroit Tigers, winning one contest with his bat and saving several others with spectacular catches in the outfield.
This comprehensive biography traces Thompson’s life and career from his childhood in rural Danville, Indiana, to his last days as a U.S. deputy marshal in Detroit, and clarifies his status of one of the greatest players in baseball’s long and storied history.

About the Author(s)

Roy Kerr, a retired professor of Spanish and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), lives in Lakeland, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Roy Kerr
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9708-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1949-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Preface 1

One. Son of the Heartland: 1860–1884 5

Two. In the City of Straits: 1885–1888 40

Three. Philadelphia Sam: 1889–1892 86

Four. The Greatest Outfield Ever: 1893–1898 120

Five. Late Innings: 1899–1922 157

Six. The Long Road to Cooperstown 187

Appendix: Highlights of Sam Thompson’s Career 203

Chapter Notes 205

Bibliography 214

Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“Kerr’s thoroughly researched book provides excellent detail on nineteenth century baseball and brings to life one of the greatest players of that era…. I highly recommend this book for your collection.”—Steve Ginader, SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter.