Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas

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Welcome to the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas
IconWelcome to the Hall of Fame, Mr. Frank Thomas.
 
You've been looking for a home in upstate New York since at least 1990, and after knocking your 500th career dinger on Thursday, you've finally secured a deed in Cooperstown.
 
Though some pundits have suggested otherwise, you have no reason to worry about your spot in the Hall. All of the media speculation has been just that: speculation, a lame attempt at selling newspapers and stirring debate.

I'm sure you've heard about the new admissions standards. Evidently, some members of the voting committee have decided that the 500-homer threshold is no longer an acceptable minimum for Hall entry. They argue that players like Jim Thome and Gary Sheffield, while very good, do not deserve enshrinement.
 
But don't worry about these changes, Mr. Thomas, because you're not going to Cooperstown purely on the basis of your power hitting.
 
You, Frank Thomas, are one of those rare sluggers for whom 500 home runs is merely a secondary accomplishment.
 
That's right: When real baseball fans hear the name Frank Thomas, they raise their eyebrows at the power numbers...but what really gets them excited is your staggering ability to get on base.
 
Everyone knows about your eight straight seasons above .300, but people overlook your magnificent on-base percentage during that time. You led the league in OBP on four different occasions; at your peak, you reached base with a frequency that rivaled all-time greats like Rogers Hornsby and Ty Cobb.
 
You were, simply put, the most feared hitter in baseball in the 1990s, and for that reason alone, you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
 
But that's not all.
 
To your credit, Mr. Thomas, you managed to drop off the radar at precisely the right time.
 
After all, everyone wrote you off at the dawn of the new century. Who needed Frank Thomas when Sammy and Big Mac were dominating the headlines? Many people practically forgot who you were when Barry Bonds was sending baseballs into the bath behind Pac Bell Park.
 
You were forgettable, Mr. Thomas, during an era that we would...well...probably like to forget.

Recent polls suggest that the vast majority of fans believe you never used steroids. We here in Common Sense Land would tend to agree. Players like you, Griffey, Ichiro, and Greg Maddux are going to get an extra pat on the back when you pick up your Hall of Fame plaques.
 
Heck, some may even argue that you were disadvantaged during the Steroid Era, as countless pitchers juiced their way to improved performances. Maybe you would have reached 500 HR last year if everyone else had been clean; it's speculation, but it's not absurd by any stretch of the imagination.

Yes, Mr. Thomas, you hit 500 home runs, and you did it the old-fashioned way, with steady production. You never hit 50 jacks in a single year. You didn't accumulate 200 dongs during the Cheaters' Era. Your 500 homers truly reflect a career of excellence...which is why the 500-HR standard was established in the first place.
 
The Hall of Fame was tailor-made for people like you, Mr. Thomas.
Let's hope you can join on your first ballot.
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