By Tom Prendergast, MSBL Tournament Director
For as long as I can remember, Red Thompson has been an integral part of the MSBL World Series and regional tournaments in Palm Springs and Las Vegas. He’s been part of my staff for the last 15 years and no doubt holds the record for most World Series games officiated by an umpire.
In recent years, Red could be found at the Maryvale Complex, where he was the field supervisor and unofficial WS concierge. It wasn’t unusual to see him driving the golf cart between fields with an elderly couple or injured player in tow. He was fondly known – as the Mayor of Maryvale!
He’s always the first person to arrive and the last one to leave! Universally loved, (even when he was officiating), Harold “Red” Thompson has always made a good impression to the players, managers and spectators at any MSBL event. You always knew that this is where he wanted to be. His first love was being on the field officiating a game. “That’s where the action was” and that’s where he wanted to be, Red would say.
He began umpiring in the armed forces in 1961 and hasn’t stopped since then. Little league, high school, adults, you name it – he was officiating it. In 2015, MSBL President and Founder, Steve Sigler acknowledged Red for his unwavering service and loyalty to the organization when he inducted him into the MSBL World Series Hall of Fame. His response to this honor was typical for him; “I am very honored to receive this award and I’m happy to know that what I have been doing all this time is a making a difference”!
This past October, Red arrived in Arizona looking tired and rundown. Something wasn’t right with him. Turns out he had been given a preliminary diagnosis for bone cancer, but he decided that could wait until the 2020 MSBL World Series was over. He just reasoned it was mind over matter and knew what his priorities were! Over his objections, I told him he had to go back home immediately and finish his medical tests, so the doctors could get him healthy again.
Sadly, the diagnosis hasn’t been good as the doctors discovered he had kidney cancer.
Instead of rehabilitation, Red’s back in the hospital for dialysis treatments. Needless to say, this could not come at a worse time for Red and his wife, Judy. Retired and living on a fixed income, the Thompson’s are experiencing some unexpected bills and are struggling to make ends meet. Things would be bad enough it if weren’t for the pandemic – which has really had a negative impact on everybody’s finances, especially the Thompson’s.
So, I’m asking for help and sending out an SOS for financial assistance for the Thompson’s.
We created a Go Fund Me Page for Red and are hoping to help raise $20,000 through this site for their short and long-term financial obligations. We are looking for any amount you can send. (click on the ‘Go Fund Me Page’ link above to be directed to the page)
I realize that times are tough but if you could possibly send just $10 or $20, it would be very helpful and meaningful for a guy who’s given so much of his time and energies to the MSBL the last 25 years.