HANK'S bat is a Louisville Slugger (model
S2) with signature barrel stamp.
GIANT THIRD BASEMAN
Hank Thompson used this bat in an August 1954 series with the Cardinals
at Busch Stadium. The eventual '54 National League pennant
winners and World Series champions took three out of four from
the Redbirds. Thompson contributed a two-run circuit-clout his
22nd of the season in the second game, a 7-4 New York
win. He had three hits in the third game in which the
Giants won, 4-1. He finished the '54 season with 26 home runs
and 86 RBIs, many in the clutch down the stretch to help fend off
HANK THOMPSON was a member of the Major League's
first all-Black outfield during the 1951 World Series when he played
right field in place of injured Don
Mueller. With Thompson in the Giants outfield that day were
center fielder Willie Mays
and left fielder Monte Irvin.
was only player to break the color barrier for teams in both leagues
Willard Brown were first black teammates to play in a Major league
Hank Thompson began his Major League career on
July 17, 1947, with the St. Louis Browns at age 22. He played for
nine seasons on two different teams and ended his big league
playing career in 1956. Thompson was the only player to break the
color barrier for teams in both leagues the St. Louis Browns
(1947) in the American League and the New York Giants (1949) in
the National League.
In 1942 at age 17, Thompson played right field for the Kansas City
Monarchs of the Negro League, batting around .300. The following
year, he was drafted into the Army where he was a machine gunner
with the 1695th Combat Engineers at the Battle of the Bulge. Sergeant
Thompson was discharged in 1946 and returned to the Monarchs.
With the start of the 1947 season, history was
made when Jackie Robinson broke the color line with the Brooklyn
Dodgers. A few months later, Thompson's contract, along with teammate
Willard Brown, was sold to the St. Louis Browns. On July 17, Thompson
became the third Negro League player to play in the Major Leagues.
Shortly after debuting for the Browns in July 1947, he was joined
by Brown to become the first black teammates to appear in a game.
Thompson was with St. Louis a little over a month and hit .256 in
78 at bats, playing in 27 games mainly at second base. On August
23, he was released and he rejoined the Monarchs through the 1948
WITH THE ST. LOUIS BROWNS, Thompson, on
July 17, 1947, became the third
Black player in
the Major Leagues.
On July 4, 1949 the New York Giants called him and Monte Irvin up
from the Giants' Jersey City farm club. Thompson received $2,500 over
the league minimum of $5,000. By signing with the Giants, Thompson
earned a unique place in baseball history as the first Black to play
in the National and American leagues.
When Thompson batted against the Dodgers' Don Newcombe in 1949 it
was the first time in Major
League history a black batter faced a black pitcher. Also, in
the 1951 World Series, he played right field in place of injured Don
Mueller, with Willie Mays
and Irvin, creating the
first all-Black outfield in Major League history.
Other significant Thompson firsts included his appearance as a Brownie
against Cleveland's Larry Doby in an August 9, 1947 doubleheader,
making it the first time Black players of opposing teams appeared
on the field at the same time.
The left-handed hitter enjoyed his best season in 1953 when he hit
.302 with 24 home runs, and finished his career with a .267 lifetime
average, with 801 hits.
HANK THOMPSON: Did you know...
....Thompson's contract was sold to Minneapolis of the American Association in 1957, where he finished his career.
Thompson played in two World Series 1951 and 1954. In the 1954 World Series against the Indians he hit .364 and drew a four-game series record of seven walks.
...Thompson was born December 8, 1925 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He died September 30, 1969 in Fresno, California at age 43.
HANK THOMPSON, above
left, with Giant teammate Willie
Mays at the Polo Grounds in 1951.
HANK THOMPSON played for nine
seasons on two different teams and ended his big league playing
career in 1956. Thompson was the only
player to break the color barrier for
teams in both leagues the St. Louis Browns (1947) in the American
League and the New York Giants (1949)
in the National League.
THE DODOGERS' Gil
Hodges tries to take out Thompson to break up a double play
during a cross-town rivalry game at Ebbets Field in the 50s.