Scot Thompson

When Glenn Beckert was traded in 1973, I was left without a favorite Cub for the first time in my life. I tried to replace with his replacement at 2nd Base, but Vic Harris was found wanting, then I latched on to a couple young up and comers, Gene Hiser and Chris Ward, but neither played enough to be worth the time. I even tried to follow a pitcher, but Tom Dettore was a pitcher who never got it together. One player after another followed, but none felt right. Then I latched on Steve Ontiveros, but after a year where it looked like he might be for real, he took several steps backwards and never really caught on. Then in 1978 I found a player I felt might be a major star. Scot Thompson had won a batting title in Triple A and when he was called up to play the outfield he hit an impressive .417 in a short time. I really thought this was the guy. He was unpretentious and good looking and I liked the way he hit. I kept hearing how he might someday be a big home run hitter. To this day I never understood why they thought that. He should have been a lead-off man type. Maybe he tried too hard to hit home runs. All I know is he got messed up at some point. Still in 1979 he did hit .289. Maybe part of the problem was that he didnt have a lot of speed and rarely stole bases. Still I liked the guy. However in 1980 he only hit .212 and found himself back in the minors. Then in 1981 he, along with the team really hit bottom, hitting only .165. But in 1982 he returned hitting .365 mostly coming off the bench. That seemed to be his niche because he did so well at it. But in 1983 he struggled again and was gone. In 1984 he resurfaced with the Giants, mostly pinch hitting, hit .306.  Following one more disappointing year, Thompson was out of the majors. 

After a career as a player agent, Scot Thompson is retired from baseball and now works as a finanicial advisor for  Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. Scot's community involvement includes charity work performed with the Pittsburgh Pirates Alumni Association. Scot also appears on a nationally syndicated sports talk show with the Christian Television Network and as a featured advisor on Hefren-Tillotson's "Your Money & You" heard Sunday mornings on KDKA Radio. He also has 2 sons that he spends time with.


Harmon Killebrew didnt play for the Cubs, indeed he never even played against the Cubs. But I was very much aware of his presence. In 1969, while my Cubbies were having their hearts broken by the Mets, Killebrew was slugging his way to an MVP award. I began to follow his career even though he played in the AL and I didnt see him play that much. I did notice when the Twins reached the playoffs in 1969 and 1970 and I felt bad that they lost to Baltimore both years. I remember reading about his story in one of those Bill Gutman books that feautured the top players of the day. Every thing I read about him showed him to be a dignified and classy person. I remembered when he hit his 500th home run, though I nearly missed it, because the newspaper devoted a single paragraph to it! Today, they would rebroadcast it ad nauseum on ESPN. He soon went into decline afterwards and would be released by the Twins to finish his career in Kansas City. Then he retired, reaching the Hall of Fame in 1984 and every year I would look forward to seeing him at the induction ceremonies. 

Many people loved Joe Dimaggio because of his supposed class and dignity, but it has come out in recent years that Joe D could be sullen and cranky at times, two words that Ive never heard used to describe Killebrew. 

There are few players today that have the class and dignity of Killebrew. Probaly the closest any active player comes is Jim Thome who is similar in talent and personality.  

He was my favorite non-Cub player and he will be missed. It is a very sad week for baseball. 

Rest in Peace, Killer!


Glenn Beckert was my favorite player on the 1969 Cubs and you could argue he had a lot to do with my becoming a Cubs fan in the first place. Even though the 69 Cubs were loaded with superstars and future Hall of Famers like Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo, it was the little 2nd Baseman that got my attention. The fact that he wasnt a superstar appealed to me, plus the fact that he always seemed to be in the middle of their rallies and I simply enjoyed watching him play. Interestingly, the day I officially declared myself a Cubs fan, he wasnt even available, having gone on the disabled list. But I looked forward to seeing him return which made him appeal to me even more. I didnt even have any idea of how fate played a role in getting Beckert to that point. But that story just adds to my fascination with the player who went by the nickname of "Bruno" after the famous wrestler Bruno Sammartino. 

Glenn Alfred Beckert was born on Columbus Day, 1940 in Pittsburgh, Pa. Somehow that hardscrabble city seemed like the perfect place for a player who was never afraid to get his uniform dirty. He was signed to a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox, where he was used at shortstop. However, his path to the big leagues would be blocked by Rico Petrcelli, who spent 10 years with the BoSox. In 1962 he would be drafted in the annual minor league draft by the Chicago Cubs. At the time it seemed to make sense, after years as the Cubs regular SS, Ernie Banks had been moved to 1st Base to save wear and tear on Mr. Cub. And there didnt seem to be a dominant prospect. But just as Beckert was acclimating himself to his new organization, the direction of his career would be forever changed because of tragedy. Kenny Hubbs had been the Cubs starting 2nd Baseman for 2 seasons winning a Gold Glove award and looking like a star of the future. While a lot of people think he couldve been Ryne Sandberg before there was a Ryne Sandberg, its hard to really say because he was in the early stages of his career. His numbers had actually gone down from 1962. So Hubbs couldve been Ryne Sandberg or he couldve been Don Zimmer, no one will ever know. In any case, it cast a huge pall over the ball club. What had been a promising looking season suddenly was up in the air. Now they had no real SS or even a real 2nd baseman. So the Cubs decided to move Beckert to 2nd Base. They did have a kid named Don Kessinger that played short, so that was decided. Beckert had to learn on the job and it didnt help that the parent club was in a state of flux. Needless to say, 1964 was a huge disappointment for the team and going into spring 1965, Beckert and Kessinger would be given a shot at being the double play combination. Not suprisingly the team continued to flounder and it cost manager, er, "head coach" Bob Kennedy his job. As they began planning for 1966, they brought in  a real manager, Leo Durocher, and right off the bat, Leo pretty much cleaned house with the roster, keeping only young players he liked, including Beckert and Kessinger. He probaly saw a lot of himself in the 2 players who at this point were good field, no hit, types. But in 1966, Beck took a major step forward, raising his average to .287. And by 1968 he even led the National League in runs scored with 98. By 1969 he was one of the best 2nd basemen in baseball, earning a starting spot in the All Star game, the first of 3 straight appearances. He also earned a Gold Glove.  Then he reached the peak of his career in 1971 when he nearly won a batting title by hitting .342, more than 60 points above his career average. Only a thumb injury kept him from catching Joe Torre. Following that spectular season the injuries would catch up to him and his numbers began to decline. By 1973 the whole group of players from the 69 team seemed to go into decline at the same time in the second half of the season as the window closed on an era. Somewhat appropriately, the 73 season ended in gloomy and rainy fashion as Beckert grounded out, little realizing that I was watching my favorite player in a Cubs uniform for the last time.  

Beckert would be traded to San Diego on Nov.12, 1973 for OF Jerry Morales. Joining the Padres, he continued to be plagued with injuries and his career spiraled to a close by early 1975. He would retire, not long afterward, he would return to Chicago working for the Chicago Board of Trade, where he would remain for many years. In the late 90s, he would retire from the CBT and move to Florida where he resides today. Though he occasionally returns to Chicago to host the 7th inning stretch or to help honor long time roommate Ron Santo, his health has been up and down in recent years. But he would return to Chicago in December 2010 for a very sad occasion as his old roomie would pass away. The relationship between the roommates was indeed a special one and I would hope that someday Beckert might put together reminisces  of that relationship. I am reminded of a story Ron Santo used to tell about when Beckert discovered that his roomie had diabetes. By accident Beckert saw Santo injecting insulin with a needle and thinking of how Santo was hitting well, while he was struggling, said, "Whatever that is, let me have some!" I always loved that story, because it seemed to illustrate how easily they could joke with each other.  I really feel for Beck, losing his roomie. 

The one thing I have never had the chance to do, but still would hope to, is get to meet Glenn Beckert. Of course, I know he is getting older and I might not have too many more chances. But I have to keep hoping. 

But at least I am proud to say that I had the chance to see such a good player play and no matter how many other favorite players I have, Beckert will always be my favorite of favorites.......

Make a Free Website with Yola.