WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Former Carolina League champion manager and long-time White Sox Minor League coach Tommy Thompson has been named the manager of the 2012 Winston-Salem Dash. Thompson will be joined on next year's coaching staff by former Winston-Salem pitching coach, J.R. Perdew, and new hitting coach, Gary Ward.
Thompson, 54, becomes the 42nd manager in Winston-Salem history. He spent last year managing the Kannapolis Intimidators, the White Sox's Class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. Thompson guided the Intimidators to a 76-62 record, narrowly missing a berth in the postseason. He has spent 22 of the last 26 years as a player, coach or manager in the White Sox organization, including 2010, when he served as a coaching assistant based in Winston-Salem.
The Oklahoma native last managed in the Carolina League during the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles). In 2007, he led Frederick to a Northern Division first-place finish in the first half and won the Carolina League championship, defeating Salem three games to one in the Mills Cup Championship Series. Prior to joining the Orioles organization, Thompson spent 20 straight years with the White Sox, including 14 as the Minor League catching coordinator. He managed Utica (Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League) and South Bend (Class A Midwest League) in 1990 and 1991, respectively.
In 2009, Thompson managed the Windy City ThunderBolts of the independent Frontier League. While with the ThunderBolts, he managed Dylan Axelrod, and recommended that the White Sox sign the right-handed pitcher. Axelrod pitched for the Dash in 2009 and 2010, and made his Major League debut for Chicago this past September. In six seasons and 728 games as a professional manager, Thompson owns a career record of 359-369 (.493).
As a player, Thompson was selected in the 27th round of the 1977 Draft by the Atlanta Braves, before signing with the White Sox as a free agent. He played 10 years in the Minor Leagues, mostly as a catcher and third baseman, for the Braves (1979-85) and White Sox (1986-88), hitting .277 with 69 home runs in 774 games.
Perdew, 46, returns to Winston-Salem as the team's pitching coach, a position he held during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In both of those years, the Warthogs finished in the top half of the Carolina League in earned run average. The Maryland native spent the last four seasons in the same capacity for the Double-A Birmingham Barons of the Southern League. The 2012 season will be the 16th for Perdew as a pitching coach in the White Sox organization. Prior to joining the White Sox, he spent seven seasons (1990-96) as the pitching coach at his alma mater, Allegany (Maryland) College.
Ward, who will turn 58 on Dec. 6, brings a wealth of Major League experience as a player and coach to the Dash. He played 12 seasons in the Majors with the Twins, Rangers, Yankees and Tigers. In 1,287 career games, the former outfielder hit .276 with 130 home runs, 196 doubles and 597 RBIs. Ward was a two-time All-Star, first with Minnesota in 1983, and again with Texas in 1985. He had his finest season in 1982 for the Twins, batting .289 with 28 home runs and 91 RBIs. The native Californian spent 2009 and 2010 as the hitting coach for the Triple-A Charlotte Knights of the International League. He also served as the hitting coach for the Chicago White Sox from 2001-03.
Ward is the father of former Major Leaguer Daryle Ward, who played in the big leagues from 1998 to 2008 with the Astros, Dodgers, Pirates, Nationals, Braves and Cubs. Daryle spent time in the White Sox system playing for Charlotte in 2009 while his father was the team's hitting coach. Gary Ward was a coach in the White Sox organization last season.
Athletic trainer Cory Barton will return to Winston-Salem in 2012 for his second season with the Dash. It will be Barton's eighth season as a trainer in the White Sox organization. He will be joined on the athletic support staff by new conditioning coach Robert S. Powell.
Dash's 2001 field staff disperses
Julio Vinas, who managed the Dash to a 69-71 overall record during the 2011 season, will lead Kannapolis as its manager in 2012. Robert Sasser, who spent the past four seasons as Winston-Salem's hitting coach, will be the Intimidators' hitting coach. Former Dash pitching coach Bobby Thigpen will hold the same position with the Double-A Birmingham Barons (Southern League) in 2012. Thigpen had been Winston-Salem's pitching coach for the last three seasons. Adam Tischler, who had spent the last seven years as a conditioning coach with the White Sox, including the last four in Winston-Salem, has voluntarily left the organization.
The Dash will begin their 68th season of Carolina League baseball on April 6 on the road against the Carolina Mudcats. An announcement regarding the release of the full 2012 Winston-Salem schedule and information on tickets will be made soon.
The Winston-Salem Dash are the Class A Advanced Minor League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. To purchase tickets and for more information, please call 336-714-2287 or visit www.wsdash.com online.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.