Detroit Tigers: 1976-1980
Another forgotten slugger in Tigers history, Jason Thompson was a two-time All-Star for the Tigers in the late 1970’s, one of the worst stretches in franchise history.
Originally acquired as a fourth round pick in 1975 out of Cal-State Northridge, Thompson made his big league debut less than a year later as a 21-year-old in 1976. Although he only hit .218 that season, he did mash 17 home runs in 123 games, a sign of what was to come for the slugger.
1977 was one of the best years of Thompson’s 11-year career, as the slugger hit 31 home runs, had 105 RBI and slashed .270/.347/.487 with a 3.9 bWAR. He made his first of three All-Star games and also finished 21st in MVP voting.
1978 saw Thompson make his second All-Star team, finishing with 26 home runs and 96 RBI. He slashed .287/.364/.472 with a 131 OPS+ and a career-high 5.6 bWAR. 1979 was Thompson’s final full season with the Tigers. He hit .246 with 20 home runs and a 98 OPS+, his lowest as a Tiger.
After 36 less than stellar games in 1980, the Tigers decided to flip Thompson to the Angels in exchange for Al Cowens. Cowens spent 1.5 years with the Tigers, hitting .273 with a 1.5 bWAR.
Thompson ended up making another All-Star team with the Pirates in 1982. He retired in 1986 with 208 career home runs, 98 of them in a Tigers uniform.