Love of game kept Milt Thompson in baseball

Astros' baserunning and outfield instructor enjoys teaching minor leaguers
by Ryan Aber Published: April 24, 2012
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When did you decide you wanted to be a baseball player?

Growing up, my grandfather, my dad and my uncle barnstormed in the Negro Leagues. So I was always around the game of baseball. As a matter of fact, my three things then: I wanted to be a football player; I wanted to be a policeman; I wanted to be a teacher. So baseball wasn't anywhere around when I was in the fifth grade. I grew up, things changed and I got better in baseball and I just made that decision. After I finished my junior year. I was an all-county player in football but I was one of the best players in the state in baseball so that made it pretty easy.

What are your favorite memories in the big leagues?

I would say, having a pretty good game in Game 4 of the World Series in 1993 (3 for 5 with 5 RBIs) for Philadelphia against Toronto and the other thing a lot of people remember is the catch I made in San Diego robbing the grand slam (from Bob Geren). As a kid, you imagine doing things like that: hitting a grand slam — robbing it — you imagine doing things like that in baseball. The situation has to be right. It was late in the game, it was the eighth inning and I was playing no doubles. If I was playing in my regular position, there's no way I would've got to the ball so everything just worked out right for that play to happen.

What kinds of things do you share with the players you work with outside of what you're teaching on the field?

I tell stories and let them know what the big league experience is and what you have to do to prepare yourself and develop a routine to be able to play 142-game schedule like they're playing right now.

What's the key to being able to survive that grind?

Short-term memory. When you have a bad game, you let it go and when you have a good game, don't get too excited about it. Keep everything even. The thing that drove me, and I always tell these kids that, you always have to tell yourself you're never a finished product. You're always trying to improve. Once you get to the big leagues, you've always got to improve to stay there.

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by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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