Jocko Thompson

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Thompson Jocko.jpg

John Samuel Thompson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jocko Thompson was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1940. The left-hander had hurled at Northeastern University and was assigned to the Eastern Shore League Centreville Red Sox immediately thereafter.

Thompson went 18-5 with a 1.56 ERA during his rookie season for the class D Centreville squad and also had a 1-1 mark with the class C Canton Terriers of the Middle Atlantic League.

1941 found him with the Greensboro Red Sox of the class B Piedmont League where he dropped to a 8-13 record and a 3.56 ERA.

In 1942 he was in the Army and joined the paratroopers, attached to the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. Lieutenant Thompson was wounded in action twice during the war and in addition to being awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star, he also received decorations from the French, Dutch and Belgians. He saw action during the Battle of the Bulge and at the end of the war he served as an aide to General James Gavin in the occupation of Berlin, Germany. Thompson rose from paratrooper to the rank of Captain during the course of the war. He was both a platoon leader at Anzio Beach and a company commander at the Battle of the Bulge.

Thompson was back playing baseball in 1946 and posted a 13-7 record with the Scranton Red Sox of the Eastern League. He was with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1947 and remained with the 1948 Toronto team when the working agreement with Boston ended and he became the property of the Philadelphia Phillies.

He was 12-8 with Toronto and on September 21, 1948, the 31-year-old Thompson made his major league debut with the Phillies, beating the Cincinnati Reds on a five-hitter.

Thompson was back with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1949, posting a 14-5 with a 2.73 ERA. He also made 8 late-season appearances with the Phillies, posting a 1-3 record.

In 1950 he was 10-14 in Toronto and made two September relief appearances in Philadelphia. Thompson, at 34, pitched in 29 games for the Phillies in 1951 with a 4-8 won-loss record and a 3.85 ERA. This was to be his last year in the major leagues.

Jocko spent the last four years of his professional baseball career, 1952 through 1955 in the AAA International League, winding up with a 37-48 record and a 4.11 ERA. The Chicago White Sox drafted Thompson in the 1953 Rule V Draft, but returned him to Philadelphia before the start of the next season. He spent his last two professional seasons with the Richmond Virginians in 1954 and 1955.

All in all, he wound up playing 12 years of professional baseball in 5 leagues with 9 different teams. He established a 119-113 record with a 3.64 ERA.

Jocko Thompson passed away in Olney, Maryland on February 3, 1988. On September 17, 2004 – 60 years after Thompson’s platoon captured the bridge at Grave in Holland - it was renamed the Lieutenant John S. Thompson Bridge. His widow and many World War II veterans were present at the ceremony.


The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
SABR Minor League Database
Baseball In

Related Sites[edit]