Andre Thornton

André Thornton (born August 13, 1949), nicknamed "Thunder", is a former first baseman and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians during a 14-year career.

Andre Thornton
First baseman / Designated hitter
Born: August 13, 1949 (age 69)
Tuskegee, Alabama
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 28, 1973, for the Chicago Cubs
Last MLB appearance
August 31, 1987, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.254
Home runs253
Runs batted in895
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Thornton grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in a family of athletes, and graduated from Phoenixville Area High School. In 1967, a week before his 18th birthday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Thornton as an amateur free agent. He played Minor League Baseball in the Phillies organization from 1967 through 1972. In 1972, the Phillies traded Thornton to the Atlanta Braves, who traded him to the Chicago Cubs the following year.

Major league career

Chicago Cubs

Thornton made his major-league debut with the Cubs on July 28, 1973, as a pinch hitter.[1] He collected his first hit on August 3, in a win over the Montreal Expos.[2] He was named to the 1974 All-Rookie Team as a first baseman by Baseball Digest. Thornton had one of his best seasons in 1975; although his 18 home runs were only the seventh-best season total of his career, he hit .293 with a .428 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .516. It was the first of six seasons during his career in which Thornton walked more than he struck out. Thornton played for the Cubs until May 1976, appearing in 271 games with a batting average of .267 with 30 home runs and 122 RBIs.

Montreal Expos

Thornton was traded to Montreal on May 17, 1976, for Larry Biittner and Steve Renko. He played in 69 games for Montreal through the end of the season. Overall for 1976, in which he battled injuries, Thornton hit .194 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs. On December 10, the Expos traded Thornton to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher Jackie Brown. The trade would prove to be one of the most lopsided deals of the 1970s, as Brown would only pitch one more year in the majors.

Cleveland Indians

Thornton sustained high levels of production through much of his Cleveland career. After hitting 28 home runs in 1977, his debut season in Cleveland, Thornton hit a career-high 33 home runs in 1978 (a total he would match in 1984). In 1979, he was honored with the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and team contribution. Thornton missed all of 1980 with a severe knee injury that required two surgeries, and all but 69 games in 1981 due to other injuries.[3]

From 1981 to 1984, Thornton played primarily as a designated hitter. In 1982, Thornton hit 32 home runs and batted in 116 runs, a career high; he also had 109 walks. From 1982 through 1986, a healthy Thornton appeared in an average of 140 games each season, and hit a total of 121 home runs with 446 RBIs while hitting for a .261 average. He won a Silver Slugger Award as a designated hitter in 1984, and then played exclusively as a designated hitter from 1985 to 1987. In 1987, he started 12 of the first 20 games, but injuries and a decision to essentially bench him kept him out of all but 24 games for the rest of the season, including only seven starts. He retired after the season.

Overall, in his ten seasons with the Indians, Thornton appeared in 1225 games, batting .254 with 214 home runs and 749 RBIs. He spent most of his career as one of the few marquee players on a team that was usually barely competitive; he only played on a winning team twice (not counting the strike year of 1981) during his time in Cleveland. He later said that while the Indians had some very good players, management simply couldn't keep them in Cleveland for any period of time.[4]

Career stats

Thornton was selected as an American League All-Star in 1982 and 1984. He finished his career with 244 doubles, 253 home runs, a batting average of .254, an on-base percentage of .360, and a slugging percentage of .452. For three seasons, he was in the top 5 in home runs in his league, and he was in his league's top 5 in walks four times. Thornton finished his career with more bases on balls (876) than strikeouts (851).

Personal life

In 1977, Thornton and his son Andy (André Jr.) were injured in an automobile accident that took the life of his wife Gertrude and three-year-old daughter Theresa Gertrude. In 1983 he wrote a book, Triumph Born of Tragedy, which is an account of the accident and his Christian faith.

In 1979, Thornton married Gail Jones, a gifted singer and former member of The Jones Sisters Trio gospel group. In addition to André Jr., the couple have two other sons, Jonathan and Dean. Today, Thornton is a successful businessman. He is president and CEO of ASW Global, a supply chain management company.

The Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a Major League Baseball player who demonstrates sportsmanship and community involvement, was presented to Thornton in 1979.

After his playing career, Thornton continued to be involved in the Cleveland community, sitting on the boards of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, the Cleveland Zoological Society, the Cuyahoga Community College Fund and Nyack College. Additionally as a member of Leadership Cleveland, and through involvement with The First Tee of Cleveland, a golf program which is geared to provide youth with educational programs and facilities that promote character development.

In August 2007, Thornton was inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame along with Jim Bagby, Sr., Mike Garcia, and Charles Nagy. Thornton is also a member of the minor league Reading Phillies Hall of Fame. The Indians also named Thornton as a member of their "Top 100 Greatest Indians."[5] Andre Thornton Park, on the north side of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, opened in August 2010.

See also

References

  1. ^ "St. Louis Cardinals 7, Chicago Cubs 2". Retrosheet. July 28, 1973.
  2. ^ "Chicago Cubs 3, Montreal Expos 0". Retrosheet. August 3, 1973.
  3. ^ Telander, Rick (August 2, 1982). "Thunder, but no gray skies". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  4. ^ Doyle, Al. Where are they now? Baseball Digest, September 2002.
  5. ^ "Top 100 Greatest Indians". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 16 January 2013.

Further reading

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Tony Pérez
National League Player of the Month
September 1975
Succeeded by
Mike Schmidt
Preceded by
Jack Brohamer
Hitting for the cycle
April 22, 1978
Succeeded by
Chris Speier
1972 Atlanta Braves season

The 1972 Atlanta Braves season was the seventh season in Atlanta along with the 102nd season as a franchise overall.

1973 Chicago Cubs season

The 1973 Chicago Cubs season was the 102nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 98th in the National League and the 58th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 77–84.

1975 Chicago Cubs season

The 1975 Chicago Cubs season was the 104th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 100th in the National League and the 60th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 75–87.

1976 Chicago Cubs season

The 1976 Chicago Cubs season was the 105th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 101st in the National League and the 61st at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished fourth in the National League East with a record of 75–87.

1976 Montreal Expos season

The 1976 Montreal Expos season was the eighth season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in last place in the National League East with a record of 55–107, 46 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The Expos played their final season of home games at Jarry Park, before moving their home games to Olympic Stadium for the 1977 season.

1977 Montreal Expos season

The 1977 Montreal Expos season was the ninth season in the history of the franchise. The team finished fifth in the National League East with a record of 73–87, 26 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies. This was the first year the team played their home games in Olympic Stadium, having left Jarry Park after the 1976 season.

1981 Cleveland Indians season

The 1981 Major League Baseball regular season started Saturday, April 11, and ended Monday, October 5. Managed by Dave Garcia, the Indians had 52 wins and 51 losses, giving them a winning percentage of .505. The Indians finished sixth in the American League East. Home games were played at Cleveland Stadium.

1987 Cleveland Indians season

The Cleveland Indians finished in seventh place in the American League East. Sports Illustrated magazine predicted that the Indians would finish in first. Club president Peter Bavasi would resign before the regular season began. Bavasi had joined the Indians in November 1984. As president of the Cleveland Indians, he served on Major League Baseball's Executive Council. During the 1986 season, the team had an 84-78 record, its best since 1968, and attendance of 1.47 million, its highest since 1959. There was a lot of optimism that the team would reach its full potential in 1987.

Sluggers Joe Carter and Cory Snyder were featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on April 6, 1987, with the headline "Indian Uprising". The Indians were being predicted as the best team in baseball on the back of their two 30+ home run hitters. What sports writers overlooked was that Cleveland had the worst performing pitching staff in the majors, despite the presence of 300 game winners Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton, as well as Tom Candiotti (with Niekro and Candiotti, Cleveland had two starters whose main pitch was the Knuckleball).

The 1987 Indians would fall well short of SI's bold prediction. They were not above .500 even once all season, and an 8-20 May ended any realistic hope of contention. They finished 61-101, the worst record in all of baseball. The season would go on to be associated with the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.

1993 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1993 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected Reggie Jackson.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected no one.

Pat Tabler

Patrick Sean Tabler (born February 2, 1958) is an American former Major League Baseball player and currently a color analyst for the Toronto Blue Jays on the Canadian sports television network Rogers Sportsnet and formerly with TSN.

Phoenixville Area High School

Phoenixville Area High School is a senior high school located on 1200 Gay St, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It is a member of the Phoenixville Area School District and teaches students from grades nine through twelve. There are currently 964 members of the student body and the principal is Dr. Craig Parkinson (2014). The school's mascot is the Phantom, who has been the mascot since the 1960s. The Phantoms' colors are purple and white. Their mission statement is, "to prepare, inspire, and graduate students to meet the challenges of the future." The High School has been on the AP honor roll for two consecutive years.

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