Pittsburgh Pirates Countdown: Top Five First Basemen

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4. Jason Thompson (1981-1985)

There were quite a few things that Jason Thompson could not do well. His base running was not the greatest, and his defensive range was approximately a step and a half to either side. Yet, Thompson could hit the baseball a long way, something he proved when he hit 31 home runs in 1982 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Overall, in his five seasons with the Pirates, Thompson put together a solid .259/.376/.432 batting line with 93 home runs. He also demonstrated an excellent batting eye, drawing 430 walks against 415 strikeouts. In his excellent 1982 campaign where he hit those 31 home runs, Thompson produced a .284/.391/.511 batting line, walking 101 times as he earned an All-Star berth and finished 17th in the MVP vote.

While Jason Thompson was never able to approach those numbers again with the Pirates, he was still a solid hitter, getting on base and putting a charge into the ball. His fielding was not entirely terrible either, despite his limited range. In fact, prior to coming to the Pirates, Thompson ranked among the better defensive players in the American League, but did not have that same range in Pittburgh.

Thompson was, for that one year, a truly great power hitter. Even if he never reached that level again with the Pirates, he was still a solid offensive first baseman.

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