Holder of one of the greatest sports nicknames of all time, Frank Thomas has retired from playing baseball after 19 seasons of professional baseball.
Most of those 19 seasons were spent with the Chicago White Sox. In his 15 years with the White Sox, he racked up 448 homers, and 1,465 runs batted in. What most impresses me about the Big Hurt is his career .301 batting average. Nowadays, most power hitters, like Thomas, may hit .280, Ryan Howard this past season hit .279. Even a bigger difference between the two hitters is that Thomas, over 19 years, struck out an average of 97 times per year, and never more than 115. Ryno, on the other hand, strikes out an average of 194 times per 162 games. That is exactly double, which is crazy. I didn’t even mean for that to happen. He finished his career with 521 home runs, and 1,704 runs batted in.
Thomas came in the top 10 for MVP voting 9 times. He did so in 1991-1997, 2000, and 2006. He won the AL MVP on two occasions in ’93 and ’94. In 2006, he came in 4th in MVP voting and had 39 home runs and 114 RBI’s. He won 3 Silver Slugger awards in ’93, ’94 and 2000. He was mainly a DH, but when he did fill in he rarely made errors with a .991 career fielding percentage. Right now, I sound way too much like Tim Kurkjian rattling off stats.
In my humble opinion, I consider him a first ballot hall-of-famer. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said it would be a disgrace if Thomas isn’t voted into Cooperstown on his first ballot. Growing up in the 90’s, Thomas was one of those players every kid new about. Everyone wanted to be as good as Frank Thomas.
He was drafted 7th overall in the 1989 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox. The Phillies drafter Jeff Jackson 4th overall that year. Who the hell is Jeff Jackson? Yeah, exactly, he never made it to the majors. Tyler Houston was the best player drafted in front of him in that draft and he didn’t play one third of the games Thomas did. Mo Vaughn, Tom Goodwin, and Chuck Knoblauch were all also drafted in the first round of that class.
Most importantly about the Big Hurt, he is an esteemed graduate of The Auburn University. So to you Frank, War Eagle.