Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas finally announced his official retirement a few days ago at the age of 41. He hasn’t played since the 2008 season, when he was with the Oakland Athletics. His last three seasons were spent with the Toronto Blue Jays and the A’s, but it was his 16 years as a member of the Chicago White Sox where he did most of his damage. Thomas is arguably the best player in White Sox history, with the club records for Home Runs (448) and RBIs (1,465). He is also one of the greatest and most imposing hitters of his era. The five-time All-Star finished his career with a .301 average, 521 home runs (18th all-time), 1,704 RBIs, 1,494 runs, 2,468 hits, 295 doubles, 1667 walks, .419 OBP, .555 SLG, and a .974 OPS. He won back-to-back MVP’s in 1993 and 1994, which put him on a very short and elite list of players to accomplish that in the American League. That list includes Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Hal Newhouser, and Jimmie Foxx. Thomas also won a batting title in 1997.
Thomas was injured for the majority of the 2005 White Sox World Series season and missed the entire postseason. Despite all of that, he stated that World Series Title was the best memory of his career. He did contribute some that year, as the team got a big power and momentum boost from Thomas in the middle of the season. He played in just 34 games in the 2005 season, but hit 12 home runs and had 26 RBIs. He did spend a lot of his career as a DH, but he was a very capable 1B and finished his career with a .990 fielding percentage in 706 games played at 1B. People seem to forget just how dominant he was, as some are questioning whether or not Thomas will be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. I don’t think there should be any doubt, as his numbers speak for themselves. What makes Thomas’ career even more impressive is that he was seen as a clean player in an era overshadowed by steroid use. Thomas was calling for performance enhancing drug testing long before others were, as he publicly advocated for PE drug testing as early as 1995. He was also one of the only players to get mentioned in the famous Mitchell Report in a positive way. Thomas did have an ugly and bitter departure from the White Sox, but those bridges have been mended. The “Big Hurt” truly was one of the best hitters to play the game and is a White Sox legend.