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  1. Cheers to perseverance! I will watch the game tonight, and watch Rich Thompson play ball.

    Comment by TFINY — May 17, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

  2. Post of the year.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — May 17, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  3. What a great story … I’ll totally be rooting for him, tonight and beyond..
    *it’s the Philadelphia Inquirer, not Enquirer.

    Comment by Chris — May 17, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  4. Oops! Many thanks.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — May 17, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  5. What an excellent piece Bradley, thanks so much for this insight to someone we would have otherwise ignored. Right now watching him play left on MLB Network Thursday night game I’ll be pulling for him all night long as I’m sure it’s not one he’ll ever forget. And thanks to the Rays and Joe Maddon, what a class group.

    Comment by James Yanushka — May 17, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  6. wow, terrific job highlighting a great story!

    Comment by jcxy — May 17, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  7. An amazing story, the one written by Bradley and the one lived by Rich. Obviously I’ve never heard of this guy but I’m immediately pulling for him. I hope he sticks, if even for one year.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 17, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

  8. This is a great post. Oh, and “the Great Insulation” … Fantastic.

    Comment by Will — May 17, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

  9. There is at least one web site that has soft spot for him.

    Comment by knightz03 — May 17, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

  10. CONGRATS to your first ML hit Mr. Thompson, hope its the first of (relatively) many.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 17, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

  11. How has nobody found this guy worthy of a roster spot in September? A pinch runner could be huge with the expanded rosters.

    Awesome to see him get a chance.

    Comment by Dylan — May 17, 2012 @ 9:49 pm

  12. single and 2SB tonight. not bad. guess his speed and baserunning is for real, at least

    Comment by brendan — May 17, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  13. not the most touching story when you consider dude’s making more than 10k/month to play baseball. He probably makes more in a season than a good deal of the nerds posting from their basements on here make in a year.

    Comment by pudieron89 — May 17, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

  14. Are you sure? Last time I checked, most AA and AAA guys made between 20-40,000. Some 4A or veteran AAA guys may make 80,000+, though.

    Career minor leaguers generally make very little.

    Comment by guest — May 17, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  15. Sorry, you’re right. 13,000 per month. But isn’t that just for the baseball season and not for 12 months? If so, its not that much of an income, especially since he may not have a job when he finishes his career.

    Comment by guest — May 17, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

  16. Why are you even here? Do you even like baseball? Go away troll.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 18, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  17. In a league full of millionaires, here’s a guy trying to play long enough to make enough money to buy a car.


    Comment by Chad — May 18, 2012 @ 12:55 am

  18. putting up a 250 wRC!

    hope he finds some at-bats down there, or maybe even get a big league paycheck next year.

    Comment by wrinklebump — May 18, 2012 @ 1:06 am


    Also give that a read. The grind to get to the bigs when you have middling talent at best is not terrific. I can’t believe people stick to it for over a decade. I imagine there are untold stories of whole families and lives being ruined by players to scared to admit they just weren’t good enough to make the majors.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 18, 2012 @ 1:47 am

  20. You really did this story justice. It was beautifully written.

    Comment by Josh — May 18, 2012 @ 4:04 am

  21. Rich Thompson is a great player to watch. Even though he may not mean much, the Rays are lucky to him. Saw him frequently with the Iron Pigs. Kinda surprised he hasn’t stuck on as a fourth outfielder somewhere.

    Comment by Keith — May 18, 2012 @ 5:08 am

  22. Very good story, well done Bradley. And well done Rich.

    Comment by Woodman — May 18, 2012 @ 6:26 am

  23. Articles of this caliber, like Rich Thompson, deserve more than “a cup of coffee”

    Comment by tz — May 18, 2012 @ 7:50 am

  24. We IronPigs fans had the distinct pleasure of seeing Rich play and meeting him as a person. You have gotten yourself an exciting player, but more importantly, a truly class individual. A blazer on the basepaths, a terrific hitter for average, and baseball instincts befitting a guy who’s been at it for a long time, we understood the loaded Phillies couldn’t find a spot for Rich.
    Seeing him traded was bittersweet, but everyone here agreed that he should be playing in the majors somewhere, and a smart team realized it.
    His first hit for the Rays was announced during an IronPigs game, and the cheers for Rich were deafening. As a Yankees fan, I would normally be unlikely to root for a rival player when the Rays and Yanks meet, but Rich deserves all the success he achieves and many of us will follow your team more closely because of him. Sometimes the good guys do win.

    Comment by IronPigs Fan — May 18, 2012 @ 8:01 am

  25. Vincente Padilla must not have known that Thompson had already played an MLB game when he “continued the old-school tradition” of plunking rookies.

    Comment by matty brown — May 18, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  26. Leave it to pudding ron to be a douche

    Comment by deadeyerr — May 18, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  27. Great job Bradley. Not bad for an English Major.

    Comment by deadeyerr — May 18, 2012 @ 9:23 am

  28. Fantastic piece. Fangraphs FTW!

    Comment by Urban Shocker — May 18, 2012 @ 10:18 am

  29. Very cool of the IronPigs to announce his first hit like that.

    Comment by Andrew — May 18, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  30. Great story. I don’t totally understand the move from the Rays’ perspective, since they traded a guy 8 years younger with basically the exact same minor league profile to get Thompson, but maybe there are meaningful differences between the two players (defense?) that are apparent from scouting but not from basic statistics.

    Regardless, this is awesome for Rich Thompson. Anyone who thinks “he’s getting paid to play, why should we care?” obviously hasn’t thought about what it means to be 34 years old and facing the end of your career with no skills that are translatable to other fields, at a time when most people your age are just getting ramped up in their careers. That must be tough enough if you’ve managed to bank one 7 figure contract (a million bucks isn’t as much to retire on as it used to be at age 65, let alone at 35). It must be absolutely frightening if you’ve barely cracked 6 figures along the way… Kudos to him for sticking with it for all those years!

    And count me among those who are mystified that the Phillies never found a September role for this guy.

    Comment by mcbrown — May 18, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  31. +1 prestigious

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — May 18, 2012 @ 10:20 am

  32. Hi guest, thanks for your concern. Unfortunately, you probably should have read the article Bradley (whom I consider an excellent writer) referenced from the Inquirer:

    “Thompson earns approximately $13,000 a month in the minors. After taking online classes for the last few winters, he recently passed the certified public accountant exam. But he has not devised a post-baseball plan”

    Lifers get a lot more and dude is a cult legend in Philly, they had a bobblehead night for him–a career minor leaguer. Good for him to get another chance and I hope he does well but no point in saying that he’s triumphed or anything, he lives a pretty damn comfortable life.

    Comment by pudieron89 — May 18, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  33. Love the story, well written but is Casey Kotchman one word? ;)

    Comment by Adam Sampson — May 18, 2012 @ 11:02 am

  34. Lets see, the minor league season is 5 months long, at $13,000 a month that comes out to about $65,000. Now thats a nice salary but it does not exactly go a long way and it does not provide him any long term security by any stretch.

    Comment by Humbaba484 — May 18, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  35. Haha Padilla does not discriminate. Rookies, veterans, the handicapped, his own mother… he’d hit any of them.

    Comment by Humbaba484 — May 18, 2012 @ 11:30 am

  36. Wow, it must be an election year. The coals of class envy have been thoroughly stoked. This story has nothing to do with money. It has to do with working hard and remaining steadfast in order to achieve your dreams. Thompson’s dream from when he was in T-ball was to play in the majors. He has talent and determination and that got him to the brink of achieving his dreams where he remained for 8 long years. Are you so cynical as to find nothing inspiring in his story simply because he is currently being well compensated for his talent and drive? He probably would have worked the rest of the year for free in exchange for another shot at the big leagues. Hell, he probably would have worked next year for free too.

    Comment by Bill — May 18, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  37. Bravo!

    Comment by DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy — May 18, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  38. Just awesome.

    Comment by BurleighGrimes — May 18, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  39. Hasn’t it always been?

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — May 18, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  40. I remember being annoyed when the Jays traded Thompson to Pittsburgh for John freakin’ Wasdin.

    Comment by Marc Hulet — May 18, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  41. Its still $65K a year. (in just 5 months of work) Which is twice what the average american makes.

    That, and hes an accountant the rest of the year. Dude probably clears $100K a year. IE, hes in the top 5-10% of earners in the country.

    He’s doing well.

    Comment by RC — May 20, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  42. Made me happy to read. Well written. Thanks for highlighting this story.

    Comment by Cardinal Rules — May 20, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

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