It Hurts So Good: Slugger Frank Thomas Set To Retire
Frank Thomas is officially hanging up the cleats.
Thomas, 41, has reportedly scheduled a Friday press conference in Chicago—where he spent 16 of his 19 big league seasons—to announce his retirement.
Thomas, one of the most feared sluggers of the past twenty years, will leave the game ranked 18th all-time with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, and an impressive .301/.419/.555 batting line.
Known as “The Big Hurt,” Thomas spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox where he won back-to-back American League Most Valuable Player Awards in 1993 and 1994.
Thomas was undoubtedly one of the top hitters of the 1990s. Throughout the decade he posted an astounding .320/.440/.573 batting line and totalled 301 home runs and 1,040 RBI.
All the while, Thomas was one of the game’s most vocal players in regards to steroids and was the only active player to have spoken to Senator George Mitchell during his investigation into the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Additionally, Thomas—a five-time All-Star—earned a World Series ring during his last year with the club in 2005.
After a nasty breakup with the White Sox, Thomas landed a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the Oakland Athletics and did everything in his power to prove he still had something in the tank.
Thomas went on to finish fourth in the AL MVP voting that year after posting an outstanding .270/.381/.545 batting line and totaling 39 home runs and 114 RBI.
He parlayed that big year into a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Although Thomas had a very solid first season with the club in 2007 hitting .277/.377/.480 with 26 home runs and 95 RBI, he slumped in his second-year with the club and was released.
He re-signed with Oakland, but injuries kept him from garnering the same success.
Following the 2008 season, Thomas was unable to find a suitor for his services and sat out the entire 2009 season.
After a year away from the game, Thomas realized his career is done.
As such, he leaves the game with an impressive dossier that has Hall of Fame written all over it, the only question is whether or not the voters will feel the same way.
Thomas spent 1,311 games at designated hitter and just 971 at first base throughout his career.
Unlike Edgar Martinez—who is believed to be the first real test case for the Hall of Fame regarding designated hitters—Thomas had plenty of success at first base. He won both of his MVP awards while playing in the field and only later in his career, as injuries took their toll, did he become a full-time DH.
On paper, looking solely at the numbers, Thomas is a no-doubt, first-ballot Hall of Famer. Whether or not the Baseball Writers Association of America will see it the same way is another question altogether.
As far as I’m concerned, “The Big Hurt” has my vote.
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