Thompson is the son of Mychal Thompson, the former NBA star who played on several Los Angeles Lakers NBA championship clubs in the 1980s, and the bloodlines show.
Two of Trayce’s older brothers played in Division I college basketball. In 2011, Mychel was at Pepperdine and Klay was at Washington State, then later the Golden State Warriors.
And even though Trayce grew up with Clyde Drexler coming over from a few doors down to try to get Mychal off the couch and go to the gym with him, he still had baseball in his mind when he was out shooting with another friendly visitor, Uncle Chuck Barkley.
Trayce said, "I knew by the time I was six or seven that I wanted to be a baseball player." But it wasn't until after helping Rancho Santa Margarita to a California high school state title as a junior, though, that Thompson broke tradition and left basketball behind for good.
"I wanted to devote all my attention to being a better baseball player," he said. "It was a decision I felt I needed to make."
Trayce was asked if he gets tired of people talking and asking him about his dad.
"Oh, no, my Dad is a super-easy going guy. I don’t mind talking about my Dad because there’s so much funny stuff to talk about. He’s like the opposite of what you think a basketball Dad is. He never moves around the house. He just sits there. My Dad has his friends he played with and they still try to keep in shape.
"One of my Dad’s good friends is Charles Barkley and he’s the most out of shape man I have ever seen. We grew up down the street from Clyde Drexler. I think he could still play today because he works out so much. My Dad likes to watch Roger Federer and Tiger Woods and just sit around the house," Trayce said.
In 2009, Thompson graduated from Santa Margarita High School and committed to a baseball scholarship from UCLA.
In 2009, The White Sox chose Thompson, out of Santa Margarita High School in California, as one of their compensation picks in the supplemental portion of the second round. Trayce and catcher Josh Phegley were the compensation for losing Orlando Cabrera. They signed Trayce for a bonus of $625,000 via scout Mike Baker.
In 2010, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Trayce as the 6th-best prospect in the white Sox organization. They had him at #9 in the spring of 2011. He was moved up to #4 in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened.
And they moved Thompson up to 2nd-best prospect in the White Sox organization in the spring of 2013. He was at #8 in the offseason before 2014 spring training, then at #18 a year later in 2015.
In 2011, Thompson topped the South Atlantic League in runs (95) while ranking third in homers (24) and extra-base hits (62). But his 172 strikeouts also led the league and were the fifth-highest total in the minors.
In 2012, Trayce led the Carolina League in homers (22), extra-base hits (55) and RBIs (90).
Thompson is intense and competitive. He is a quiet leader. He works his butt off every day. He is a graceful athlete.
- Thompson's offseason workout partner and best friend is Nolan Arenado, who has taken over as the Colorado Rockies' third baseman as a rookie in 2013.
"I'm really happy for him," Thompson said. "It makes you want to get up there too even more."
Jan 2015: Trayce's brother, Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, went off with an NBA-record 37-point quarter, while on his way to 52 points in a home victory over the Sacramento Kings.
His famous father, Mychal Thompson, was the top pick in the 1978 NBA draft who went on to a 13-year career. His oldest brother, Mychel, also played in the NBA. His brother, Klay, is a standout for the Golden State Warriors. So Trayce knows he might be the object of hecklers anytime he takes the field. And he has no problem with it.
Charlotte manager Joel Skinner understands that father-son dynamic. He's the son of former Major Leaguer Bob Skinner.
"It's who you are and it's just how it is," Joel Skinner said. "I'm sure for Trayce it's an advantage [to have a famous father and brothers] from the standpoint of picking up the phone to talk to your dad or brother about life in the trenches, knowing they've gone through a lot of the same things.
"There's nothing better than picking up the phone and talking to someone who understands what you're going through. In his case, it's a different sport, but it's still about how you carry yourself and how you go about your business."
Trayce said he does not talk much to his brothers. "Whenever I talk [to one of them], we talk about their dog or about our other brother," he joked. But he said his father has been a source of inspiration.
"With my dad, he talks about being positive. He knows what it's like to grind through a long season, so he talks about staying positive," he said. "My dad is one of the most positive people you will meet and he instills confidence in me. Every time we talk, he tells me how talented and how blessed I am." (MiLB.com writer John Wagner - 5/17/15)
Late on the night of June 16, 2015, Trayce video-chatted with his brother, Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson, as his brother celebrated an NBA title in the locker room with his teammates and family.
Thompson's brother helped the Warriors down LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers to win the 2015 NBA championship. Thompson's father, Mychal Thompson, played in the NBA, as did his other brother, Mychel.
"It's been very surreal," Thompson said. "To see him last night, it was a surreal feeling."
The entire Thompson family was at the basketball game, sans Trayce
Then two nights later Trayce slugged a pair of home runs to lift the Triple-A Charlotte Knights to a 7-5 win over Pawtucket.
It would be easy for Trayce to try to live up to his family's famous name with every at-bat and every play he makes in the field. But two factors prevent that situation from ever taking place.
He is very comfortable in his own skin and with his own ability on the baseball field and Thompson has nothing but respect for the accomplished basketball side of his family in his dad, former NBA player Mychal, brother and current NBA champion, Klay, and brother, Mychel, who plays professionally in Italy.
According to Thompson, they are really just a normal family featuring championship athletic accomplishments. "When we're together, we're just like any other family," Thompson said. "When we're together, my brother's dog is the center of the family. So it's been pretty fun.
"We're just like any other family. We're just normal people, but we just happen to be very blessed to do what we love as jobs. It's been a blessing, and it's been a lot of fun."
The youngest Thompson launched his first career homer, off friend and opponent Hector Santiago. Yet some headlines around the country referred to Thompson as "Klay's brother." It's a title Trayce is proud to wear.
"I do my own thing, but people are going to refer to me as that until I make an All-Star team or until I win a championship," Trayce said. "It is what it is. It doesn't bother me. To me, Klay is just my older brother. He's not a basketball player. He's just Klay to me, and Mikey's Mikey, and my dad's my dad, and my mom's my mom."
Trayce's mom, Julie, just might be the best athlete of the whole family. She set California state records in track and was a Division I volleyball player at the University of San Francisco.
"She's a really good athlete," Trayce said of his mom. "She doesn't want any of the attention. That's how she is. To try to get a picture of her, it's not going to happen. She stays in the shadows. We owe her a lot of credit, for sure." (Merkin - mlb.com - 8/12/15)
Trayce loves to play golf. "It's tough to do it during the season. I didn't play at all last season, and I feel like I had more success in baseball, and I'm superstitious, so I haven't played this season (2016). But in the offseason, I played a lot of golf."
When did you start playing golf?
"In my third offseason (2011-12). That's when the NBA lockout was happening, and so Klay was home and we played a lot of golf. And once he left, me and my buddy Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, we hit together in the offseason, so we were playing golf a lot. Now, in the offseason, we'll play two or three times a week."
How about favorite TV shows?
"I watch all the HBO shows like 'Game of Thrones,' 'Entourage,' 'Silicon Valley,' but by favorite is 'The Office.' I'll watch at least an episode a night," Thompson said.
How about movies?
"Me and Corey Seager, we watched the new 'Ninja Turtles' in Pittsburgh. I love to go to the movies. I really just like to go to the movies to eat popcorn."
What's something people would be surprised to know about you?
"I used to be kind of a chunky kid. Everyone looks at me now, and I'm kind of lanky and rangy, but when I was a kid, I was definitely on the stockier said. I kind of stretched out my sophomore year of high school," Trayce said. (Jon Weisman - Dodger Insider - Aug 2016)
April 7, 2018: When new A's outfielder Trayce Thompson gets back to the Bay Area, he expects a warm reception from his new roommate, he is just not sure it will be over-emotional. Younger brother Klay will open the door, Trayce will step inside and not much figures to be said. The Thompson brothers will be under one roof again, just like when they were kids.
"I'm sure if you guys have talked to him before, he's not the biggest talker in the world," Trayce said of his NBA All-Star brother who will have started the run toward another NBA title with the Golden State Warriors. "That's how he is with us, too. He'll be excited, I'm sure, when I see him for the first time."
Trayce Thompson joined the A's 7-3 win over the Angels at Angel Stadium, a few days after being claimed off waivers from the Yankees. Thompson was waived by the Dodgers a few days before Opening Day, then claimed by the Yankees, who tried to sneak him through waivers and assign him to Triple-A. The A's had a different idea.
"I've been in this position before," Thompson said. "This game is funny and is definitely a roller-coaster of a game, especially for me the last few years, but I have been in this role before and I know what it takes." He likely will have to deliver quickly, otherwise his stay in Oakland might not even last as long as his brother's run in the NBA playoffs. To avoid thinking about the pressure, Thompson will let his new living arrangement take him back to simpler times.
"This will be the first time I've stayed with [Klay], and my older brother, for an extended period of time since high school," Thompson said. "Klay going to basketball practice and me going to baseball. It will be interesting." (D Padilla - MLB.com - April 7, 2018)
2021 Season: Thompson went 7-for-28 in his official at-bats, clubbing four home runs and a double. Per Baseball Savant, Thompson showed some signs of that power bat who could fit into a lineup nicely. He averaged an exit velocity of 92.3 mph and recorded a 58.5 percent hard-hit rate, and found the barrel 35 percent of the time.
The 31-year-old came out of the woodwork in 2021 after having last seen time in the Majors back in 2018. In 28 at-bats, he posted a .400 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage. (Logan Whaley - March 8, 2022)
June 2009: The White Sox chose Thompson in the second round, out of Santa Margarita High School in California.
December 16, 2015: The Reds sent Todd Frazier to the White Sox as part of a 3-team trade. The Dodgers received 2B Micah Johnson, RHP Frankie Montas and CF Thompson from the White Sox. And the Dodgers sent 2B Jose Peraza, LF Scott Schebler and 2B Brandon Dixon to the Reds.
April 3, 2018: The Yankees acquired Thompson off waivers from the Dodgers.
April 5, 2018: The A's acquired Thompson off waivers from the Yankees.
April 17, 2018: The A's released Thompson.
April 19, 2018: The A's traded Trayce to the White Sox for cash.
Dec 1, 2018: The Indians organization signed free agent Thompson.
Feb. 3, 2020: The Diamondbacks signed Thompson to a minor league contract.
May 11, 2021: The Diamondbacks traded OF Trayce Thompson to the Cubs.
March 13, 2022: The Padres organization signed free agent Thompson.
May 14, 2022: Trace elected free agency.
May 19, 2022: The Tigers organization signed free agent Thompson.
- June 20, 2022: The Tigers traded Trace to the Dodgers for cash considerations.