Friday July 23rd, 2021

An interview with softball legend Tommy Thompson


Tommy Thompson

ASA Playing History

USSSA Playing History

Major Players List

Why do you like the game of softball?
I wanted to see if I could make the Men of Steele's softball club.   I did not.   I did play on teams that beat Steele's which was very rewarding in its on right.

Who is the best softball player of the 1990's and the 2000's that you have ever played against?
In the 90's I would go with Jim "Birdie" Burbrink for Defense.  Offense I would have to say Steve "Dixie" Dickinson for average and Hank "Gangster" Garris for HR hitter.    In 2000's I would go with Jeff "Zoomer" Wallace & JC Phelps (RIP) for Offense and Defense would be Andy Purcell.   The best player in any decade to get a hit to win the game would be Todd Martin (hands down).

Where do you call home?
Springfield, Ohio

What do you do for a living?
8th Grade Science Teacher in an urban city middle school

Did you play sports in High School / College / Pro?
High SchoolCollege football

How did you get your start in softball and how did you get to the upper level?
Played in a Gahanna, Ohio league against Jeff Hague and played well.    Hague took a chance on me and it worked out for the both of us.

What position do you play?
Catcher.   Named to the all decade team of 90's for Defense by Jackie Hayes.   I know catcher's just play catch with the pitcher but you had to see it to believe it.

What batting grip do you use?
Pinky under the knob

Was softball in the 1990's better or worse?
Unlimited HR in Major tourny.    Can't complain about that.

Composite or Aluminum?

What was your favorite park to play in of all time?
Municipal Stadium (now Carlton-Davidson Stadium) Springfield, Ohio

What was the story behind the origination of the Boowoop! homerun grunt?
During heavy lift days that was the noise (bring the noise during lifting) carried over into BP during the early 90's and into the games.    JC Phelps did not coin the noise (RIP)

What do you remember about the 1994 USSSA 'AA' Worlds when you won with Hague and the following 1995 Major World Series championship?

Chemistry and hard work.   The 94 team was designed by Hague for the HR rules (6 hitters).   Better get yours early or hit down or sit down.   The 95 team we beat every Major team D&D, Lighthouse, Steele's, Ritch's Superior (that was the biggest win for me), Shen Valley (run ruled them in the if game).   The 2000 Maroadi's team that won the USSSA "A" worlds was the most dominant team I ever played on.   We gave Team TPS their first loss of the season in Salem, Va.  on the baseball field.   That was another great win. Steve Dickinson's offensive hitting in the Men's Major USSSA World Series in 2000 sticks out also.

What is your favorite sports team?
College Basketball- Kentucky Go Big Blue    College Football-Buckeyes    Pro Football- Steelers

What is your favorite sport other than softball?
College Basketball

Do you have any superstitions and if so, what are they?
None- get your BP during the week

What is your most memorable softball moment?
Reaching base 50 consecutive times in USSSA Conference play.

Is slow-pitch softball a sport or a game?
Game- that's why they keep score

Would an ex-major level player make a good Conference Umpire?
Yes, if they could still enjoy all of the traveling.   Takes a toll.

What is the best improvement upper level softball could make?
None- enjoy the competition and always work hard to beat the Major's with out cheating.   In 1995, to win the Men's Major USSSA World Series as an amateur and to see the faces of the pro's is PRICELESS to this day.

What improvement could be made for the Conference Championships?
None- work hard and be a great teammate.   The rules will always change.

What is the funniest prank you have witnessed during your softball career?
Playing against Resmondo in Cincinnati Shootout.   Andy Purcell threw a 10 foot arch pitch and as the ball was in the air I told Andy "not the lollipop" and hit a homerun.   Next at bat, Andy got me to fly out to right field and all the Resmondo Players yelled "lollipop" I filed it away.   The next tournament we played against Resmondo at the Last Chance in Sterling Hts. and prior to my first at bat I went and bought one of those lollipops that you get at a local fair and put it in my pants pocket.   My first at bat, I am in the box and the Resmondo players started chanting "lollipop" so I asked for time out and pulled out the lollipop and tossed it at Andy and it 2 hopped right on the pitching rubber.   Andy was a good sport and put the lollipop in his mouth.   Next pitch, I hit one of the longest HR's that landed on 2nd base of the other field.   Andy got a boooouuwoop & a lollipop.    Next at bat, Andy popped me up to right field. Resmondo players gave me the chant.    LOL

What is your favorite non-World tournament?
The Stroh's Tournament in Springfield, Ohio.    Games played on a baseball stadium and the fan's built scaffold's around the outfield fences (right field- left field).   Home runs hit the scaffolds or semi-truck trailers.   Nothing like raising the roof when you booouuuuwoooped one for the hometown.   The fans slept at the tournament from Thursday-Sunday.    Had to see it for yourself.   Dudley & Smokey tie for a close second.

What is the funniest thing you have ever seen on a softball field?
Greg Travell (RIP) brought this young short stop to Hague Softball in 1994 from Cleveland, Ohio and told me he is the best player to come from that area (Mike Macenko is from the same area) so I had my doubts.   The first at bat in the Stroh's Tournament he swung and struck out and I looked at our team and said "Howie Krouse the Legend."    In case you did not know, Howie is now in the USSSA Hall of Fame.   I guess I was right, Howie Krause is a legend from the same area that produced another USSSA Hall of Famer "The Big Cat" Mike Macenko.

Who are you playing with in 2011?
I have chosen not to play anymore.   I have the USSSA hat trick (USSSA Major, USSSA "AA", and USSSA "A") championship rings and proud to say that I met all my goals for playing Men's USSSA slow-pitch softball.    I would like to thank the following sponsor's for allowing me to accomplish my goals: Jay Hopkins (Jay's Softball; Cincinnati, Ohio), Jeff Hague & Greg Travell (RIP) (Hague-Ohio Transport; Columbus & Cleveland, Ohio), Joe Baney (Maroadi's; Jeanette, Pennsylvania), Jim Lippert (Frank-n-Steins; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Doug Reed (Creative Stucco; Columbus, Ohio),  Dave Watanabe (Watanabe Optical; Cincinnati, Ohio), Steve Butler – Steve's Drywall, Perrysburg, Ohio and Eric Weller (Ropeclub & EWS; Chicago, Illinois).    Last, Don DeDonatis Sr. for taking USSSA to the top of men's slow-pitch softball.   USSSA is the reason I left home every weekend for the last 21 seasons.   The best players in the world play USSSA.
To all of my teammates through out the season's I leave you with one last "BBBOOOOOWUUUUPPP-Boom!!"



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2 responses to “An interview with softball legend Tommy Thompson”

  1. Tony Mancuso says:

    Actually Tommy forgot his real softball beginnings was as a 135lb pinchrunner for the old Springfield Commerce team….his brother John Burton was the catcher………..and Tommy would come in to run for him

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