Why we like him: Milt Thompson was passed around more times than a needle in the '88 Oakland clubhouse. Over the course of his 13-year career, Thompson played for 6 different teams, all of which were in the National League. What's so perplexing, though, is that he always seemed like the type of productive player that was coveted around the league, yet he never stayed with the same club for more than four consecutive seasons.
Thompson was indeed a productive player who could play wherever his manager needed him to play in the outfield, and usually performed best when pinch hitting or part of a platoon, such as splitting time playing the corner outfield spots with Felix Jose and Bernard Gilkey in St. Louis in the early 90s. He batted .274 for his career with just 47 home runs. He even played in the World Series in 1993 with the Phillies, batting .294 with a home run and 6 RBI (5 of those RBI came in Game 4 alone). Perhaps Thompson was best known during his career for his defensive play, showing off his range and snatching balls from over the fence pretty regularly during the pre-Web Gem era.
In 1997, Thompson was hired as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' outfield and baserunning coordinator, which I'm not sure is somethign he's necessarily proud of. After two years of hanging around the Devil Dogs, he moved to Philadelphia for assorted base coaching and position jobs with the Phillies. He even finally won a World Series ring with the Phillies in 2008 as their hitting coach. He's now the outfield and baserunning coordinator for the Houston Astros' farm system.
Milt Thompson might not have been the best at anything, but he was always fun to watch in the outfield and a guy pitchers never wanted to see at the plate in big spots. You'd think that some team somewhere would have kept Milt for the long haul, using him as an integral piece of the puzzle instead of trading him or letting him walk as a free agent. But then again, that's sort of what made him who he was. He could definitely play for my team any day.
Ladies and gentlemen, Milt Thompson, Ballplayer.