Richard William "Dickie" Thon (born June 20, 1958) is an American former professional baseball shortstop, who played for the California Angels, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Phillies, Texas Rangers, and Milwaukee Brewers during his 15-year Major League Baseball (MLB) 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).
Potential and beaning
Touted by some as 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. 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.
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.
Thon's son, Dickie Joe Thon, was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round, 156th overall in the June 2010 baseball draft and played the 2016 season for the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Thon was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame on September 13, 2003.
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