April 11, 2011
As I have written previously, the Phillies outfield of the 1890s was one of the greatest outfields in baseball history. The third outfielder in that great triumvirate was a man named Sam Thompson. Thompson came to the Phils from the Detroit Wolverines in 1888, and proceeded to put up monster numbers for the Phils throughout the ’90s. In 1895, he knocked in 61 RBIs in a single month, a record which still stands (and which I can’t imagine will ever be broken, though Joe DiMaggio and Hack Wilson both hit 53 in a month.) He also inspired this amazing quote, which is mentioned on his Hall of Fame page. It comes from the Spalding Guide of 1896, and rips him for not trying to produce less runs!
“Thompson belongs to that rutting class of slugging batsmen who think of nothing else when they go to the bat but that of gaining the applause of the ‘groundlings’ [fans] by the novice’s hit to the outfield of a ‘homer’, one of the least difficult hits known to batting in baseball, as it needs only muscle and not brains to make it.”