Brad Thompson — yes, the baby-faced former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher who earned the (unfortunate) nickname “Puppy Kicker” back in 2007 — celebrates a birthday today. He’s 31. And he’s still baby-faced, as Miranda found out last week during the Cardinals Caravan in Jonesboro, Ark.
So in honor of him still looking like he’s 15, here’s a look back to his major league debut on May 8, 2005, when he looked like he was 12. He entered the Mother’s Day game in the seventh inning with a 13-4 lead over the Padres and earned a save by pitching three innings. (It’s a pity Aaron Miles was still on the Rockies in 2005, because that kind of lead is a tailor-made pitching situation for him.) Brad even got his first big league at-bat.
Watch and enjoy … not just Brad, but some friendly faces from the Cardinals recent past (Scott Rolen! Reggie Sanders hitting back-to-back homers with Abraham Nunez! Mark Grudzielanek! That Guy Who Used to Play First Base! David Eckstein! So Taguchi! And an unfortunate tumble that causes 22-year-old Yadi to leave the game — but he’s replaced by Einar Diaz! Plus Bob Carpenter with the play-by-play!)
And about that “Puppy Kicker” nickname — here’s the explanation, from a recap of the Cardinals-Royals game from June 12, 2007:
Cardinals starter Brad Thompson (4-2) worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on eight hits, walking four with no strikeouts.
“I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this frustrated,” Thompson said. “I’m almost to the point I want to find a puppy and kick it pretty much. You’ve just got to learn from it. You’ve got to do something to get your mind off of it.”
Did no one see that he said “almost to the point”? Ah well, it was a provocative statement and it certainly made a nickname — one that, as you can see from the title of the YouTube video, lives on.
Nicknames aside, happy birthday to Brad!