The first 3 parts of my comparisons between the 1887 and 2011 Gypsy Queen sets showcased the best players in baseball from the eras, a few all-time home run kings, and two great players just past their prime. This one showcases “Stars of Tomorrow” from the two eras.
The Up and Coming Star
At the time of the release of the Gypsy Queen cards, Sam Thompson was still a young player by any baseball standards. In 1886, Thompson played his first full season for the Detroit Wolverines of the National League (a team that would eventually disband). “Big Sam” showed a lot of promise, hitting .310 and scoring over 100 runs. His 1887 season was historic – he knocked over 200 hits, including 23 triples, while batting .372. All those totals led the league, but his 166 RBI set an all-time single season record that lasted for 34 years before Babe Ruth broke it. Thompson was the only player in the 19th century with over 150 RBI in a season, and he did it twice (165 in 1895 for Philadelphia). He retired as the active leader in RBI and was 2nd all-time in home runs. Thompson would certainly have been the National League MVP had the award existed in 1887 – just as Joey Votto earned the award for the Reds last year.