Dads Are Amazing, Powerful Force In Baseball 0

By LOU PAVLOVICH, JR.
Editor/Collegiate Baseball

WACO, Tex. — Dads are the most precious resource a son can have.

This is a special story about a dad who lived his life for his two boys as they ultimately turned into magnificent college baseball coaches and human beings.

Mitch Thompson and his brother Nate were reared in Goodland, Kan. with a population of about 5,000.

The heart and sole of the family was their dad Mac who coached them in baseball throughout their youth and did everything possible to fuel their passion for baseball.

That included making 7-hour trips to different baseball summer camps for Mitch so he could receive great instruction.

Other times, Mac would travel six hours or more so his boys could play on select teams to improve their skills. He even temporarily moved to Denver and Topeka, Kan. for two summers so Nate could play on quality baseball teams.

Mitch, the highly successful head coach at McLennan Community College in Texas for the past seven years, previously coached 22 years at Big 12 and Southeastern Conference schools.

His younger brother Nate is the recruiting coordinator at the University of Arkansas and is one of the rising young stars of coaching who also is an elite hitting instructor.

Everything in their lives was made possible by their dad who passed away from liver cancer a few weeks ago at the age of 81.

Nothing brightened up Mac’s days more than knowing Mitch and Nate were having success in life. He was their biggest fans.

His greatest joy was baseball, and he had legendary status in the community of Goodland, Kan. as he spent many years investing his time and efforts in the youth of this town.

He coached numerous years in the Goodland Little League, K18 and American Legion programs.

In 1980, Mac led the Goodland K18 baseball team to a state championship.

He enjoyed watching and coaching baseball, fishing, hunting and most of all spending time with his family.

“Dad had been fighting liver cancer for about two years,” said Mitch.

“He didn’t want to travel to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for treatment because he didn’t want to interrupt what I was doing as a head baseball coach. He knew he would need some help getting to the Center.

“However, my dad did receive treatment in Denver which is a little over three hours from Goodland, Kan.

“But MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is considered the best in the world in dealing with cancer. So we eventually got him in. They felt they could treat the liver cancer he had. They asked him to come back in a month, and they would map it out and get him ready for treatment.

“So we took him back. Unfortunately, his liver was starting to fail.

“He endured two surgeries at MD Anderson. At the end of those surgeries, they felt there was nothing more they could do for him.

“That was on a Thursday. I got him back to Kansas on Sunday. The next Tuesday night, he was transported to Denver on a Flight For Life plane.

“He was having kidney failure, and all the major organs in his body were starting to shut down. So I talked to him two days later on the phone and asked him how he was feeling. He told me he was feeling fine. He just felt a little worn out and tired. But he emphasized that he was OK.

“Then he raised his voice with excitement and said, ‘Two good wins yesterday! Who are you going to pitch Saturday?’ That’s what he wanted to talk about.

“At 2:30 in the afternoon, I was on a conference call with the palliative care team at the hospital.

“They told me that dad’s internal organs were failing. They asked me how I wanted the situation to be handled. I asked the doctors if we were talking about my dad passing in hours, days or weeks? I was told definitely not weeks and probably not hours. But it would probably be the next day or two.

“After the conversation, I called my dad and asked him to please keep fighting because God can still work a miracle here. But if he doesn’t, I want you to run as fast as you can into Jesus’ arms.

“We will take care of mom (Pat), and you don’t have to worry about her. He said, ‘I know, I know.’ Then he raised his voice and said ‘Mitch’ with the tone that those doctors didn’t have a clue, ‘I’m not going anywhere for a while.’

“That night at 9 p.m., he passed. We were thankful that he didn’t have to suffer.”

To read more of this story, purchase the May 17, 2019 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. The rest of the story explains the tragic death of Mac Thompson’s two other sons, the amazing story of how Nate was born and how Mitch and Nate are indebted to their dad who did so much for them. He even built a Field of Dreams for Nate when he was a budding young baseball player. As Father’s Day approaches on Sunday, June 16, the full story is one you don’t want to miss.