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Rich Thompson

Rich Thompson - RHP
Hometown: Hornsby, NSW
Debut: 1 September 2007
Final Game: 23 April 2012
Teams played for: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics

Though he now lives in Arkansas, New South Wales native Rich Thompson represented Australia on several of baseball's biggest international stages.

Born in Hornsby, northwest of Sydney, Thompson grew up in the Sydney area and signed with the Anaheim Angels as an amateur free agent in February 2002, debuting in their system that same year. He appeared in 15 games as a reliever for the AZL Angels, racking up two wins and recording a respectable 2.70 ERA.

Only 17 when he signed, Thompson's ascent through the Minors went steadily, and after three seasons, he ascended beyond Class A ball. While playing for the Angels' affiliate in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Thompson left the team for a short period of time to play for the Australian national team in the 2004 Summer Olympics. The Southern Thunder shocked the world by beating baseball powerhouse Japan en route to the silver medal.

Thompson had a strong season with the Class A Advanced Quakes that year as well, going 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 41 games. Two seasons later, he donned the green and gold once again in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006 and represented his home country once more in the second iteration of the tournament three years later.

After five seasons in the Minors, the Angels called Thompson up late in the 2007 season when rosters expanded. He debuted on 1 September, pitching the eighth inning of the Angels' 7-6 loss to the Texas Rangers and giving up one hit while striking out two of the four batters he faced. He made six more appearances in the Majors that season, struggling in a handful of his outings and ending the year with a 10.80 ERA in 6 2/3 MLB innings.

Thompson began the next season with the Angels but struggled out of the gate and dealt with an injury that swallowed most of his season. He finally found some consistency on the mound in an outstanding 2010 season, when he posted a 2-0 record and 1.37 ERA in 13 relief appearances for the Angels. That year, he earned his first MLB win in the Angels' extra-innings affair on 10 September against the Seattle Mariners.

Following the 2010 MLB campaign, Thompson returned to Sydney and donned the blue jersey of his hometown Blue Sox. The right-hander worked in three games for Sydney, striking out four batters over three innings.

Thompson spent his first and only full season in the Majors in 2011, going 1-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 44 games as a member of the Angels' bullpen. Anaheim designated him for assignment in early April 2012, and the Oakland Athletics claimed him off waivers and sent him to Triple-A shortly thereafter. Despite his solid numbers at both Triple-A, where he went 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA, and with the Athletics, where he allowed one hit in 2/3 of an inning in a loss, Oakland did not re-sign him at the end of the 2012 season.

Thompson signed a Minor League contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in December 2012, but never played for the organisation and has not appeared in an MLB game since the 2012.

View Rich Thompson's career statistics from Baseball Reference

(Photo at right: Thompson hurls a pitch while on the mound for the Sydney Blue Sox during the ABL's inaugural season in 2010/11. Credit: SMP Images/ABL Media)