April 8, 1984
Dickie Thon beaning
In 1983 24 year-old Dickie Thon had the best offensive season ever by an Astros shortstop. That season Thon was awarded the Silver Slugger as the best hitter in the league at his position. Thon smacked 20 homeruns and stole 34 bases to finish seventh in the National League MVP balloting. The future appeared to be very bright for the youngster from Puerto Rico.
But in the fifth game of the 1984 season Thon was struck in the left eye by a fastball from Mets pitcher Mike Torrez. Thon suffered a broken orbital bone and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Thon was back in the Astros opening day lineup in 1985. But he continued to suffer from blurred vision and a lack of depth perception. Thon was limited to only 84 games that season. We will never know how good Dickie Thon may have been had he not been injured.
Thon continued experiencing vision problems but never gave up on his big league dream. His father and his grandfather had also been aspiring baseball players. Although he would never again approach the awesome numbers he posted in 1983, Thon did have some productive years later in his career. Thon played for the Padres, Phillies, Rangers, and Brewers before retiring after the 1993 season at the age of 35. Continuing in the family tradition his son, Dickie Joe Thon, is now a player in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.