ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Former Mississippi State and major league star reliever Bobby Thigpen fell down a staircase while leaving an NHL playoff game last week and needed surgery to stop internal bleeding.
“He is doing very well,” wife Keri Thigpen said Monday. “He is stable and is able to sit up in a chair. He could be walking today.”
The 39-year-old Thigpen, who saved a record 57 games for the Chicago White Sox in 1990 and last played in the majors in 1994, was injured at the Washington-Tampa Bay game Thursday.
His wife said he sustained internal injuries, including minor damage to his spleen. He had three hours of surgery on Friday, was listed in critical condition and was on a respirator Friday through Sunday, she added.
Bayfront Medical Center spokesman Bill Hervey would not confirm Thigpen is a patient at the hospital.
Thigpen could be released Monday from the intensive care unit at the St. Petersburg hospital, his wife said.
The ex-pitcher slipped and fell down a crowded staircase, his wife said. Thigpen declined assistance from paramedics at the arena, thinking he had only bruised his ribs. When the pain worsened Friday, Keri Thigpen called a doctor who determined surgery was needed immediately.
Thigpen underwent spinal surgery in 1996, and the long rehabilitation in effect ended his career. In nine seasons with the White Sox, Phillies and Mariners, he had a 31-36 record with 201 saves and a 3.43 ERA.
After his All-Star season of 1990, Thigpen had only 53 saves in parts of four seasons. He last appeared in the majors in 1994 with Seattle, before spending much of the 1994 and 1995 seasons in Japan.