An All-American at Oklahoma State, he was the 18th pick overall in the 1968 draft by the Minnesota Twins and broke into the big leagues in 1970 playing second, third and shortstop throughout his career.
In 1972 he even got some M.V.P. consideration, as he batted .276 with 48 R.B.I.'s while playing alongside future Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
Sadly, before the 1973 season at the young age of 26, Thompson was diagnosed with leukemia, yet incredibly he continued to play at the big league level for the next three seasons before the disease took his life on December 10, 1976.
A member of the Twins for the bulk of his career, in June of 1976 Thompson was part of the trade that sent Bert Blyleven to Texas in a six-player transaction.
It's amazing to think of how difficult it must have been for Thompson to continue playing, traveling, training, all while living with leukemia and all the treatment involved.
Incredible story that sadly did not have a happy ending.
The card design you see below (without the "In Memoriam" banner) was actually designed by Topps and was supposed to be in the 1977 set. It was pulled once Thompson passed away.
I just added the banner and present it here as part of the memorial thread honoring those players who left us way too soon.
|February 1st, 1947- December 10th, 1976.|