|Born: June 20, 1958|
South Bend, Indiana
|May 22, 1979, for the California Angels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1993, for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|Runs batted in||435|
|Career highlights and awards|
Richard William Thon (born June 20, 1958), is a Puerto Rican-American former professional baseball shortstop, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the California Angels, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and Milwaukee Brewers, during the course of his 15-year big league career.
Thon was raised in Puerto Rico after spending only the first two weeks of his life in Indiana where his father had just completed a bachelor's degree at the University of Notre Dame.
He was signed by the California Angels as an amateur free agent on November 23, 1975, while in high school in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. During his 15-year career, Thon spent two seasons with the Angels (1979-1980), seven seasons with the Houston Astros (1981-1987), one season with the San Diego Padres (1988), three seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (1989-1991), one season with the Texas Rangers (1992), and finished his career with the Milwaukee Brewers (1993).
By 1984, Thon was drawing excitement about his potential. "He's already the best shortstop in the league," said Craig Reynolds, whom Thon had replaced as the Astro shortstop. Al Rosen, Thon's general manager, said, "when I see Dickie Thon, I see a future Hall of Famer." His career was permanently altered on April 8, 1984, when he was hit in the face by Mike Torrez's fastball.Bill James thinks Thon might have been a Hall of Famer had the injury not occurred. The pitch broke the orbital bone around his left eye and ended his 1984 season. He returned in 1985, but suffered from problems with depth perception that permanently hampered his potential. In 1991, Thon received the Tony Conigliaro Award in recognition of his recovery from this severe injury.
In 2013, Thon said, "I couldn't see the ball very well after I got hit in my left eye. I had to make adjustments, and open up a little bit and see the ball better. It's tough to do that in the big leagues, but I did manage to play 10 [more] years." He viewed the injury as just one bad moment in a life filled mostly with blessings: "I've had a lot of good things happen to me. I try to think about it that way."
Thon is a third-generation baseball player. He is the grandson of Freddie Thon Sr., a native Puerto Rican who played and managed in the Puerto Rican Baseball League during World War II. His father Freddie Thon Jr., who signed a major-league contract but injured his arm before reporting to training, played semi-pro baseball while finishing college at Notre Dame, and coached all of his sons throughout their Little League and teenage years. Dickie's brother Frankie Thon is also affiliated with major league baseball in both the U.S. and Puerto Rico having been a player, a manager and a current major-league scout, as well as the general manager of the Criollos de Caguas in the Puerto Rican League.