White Sox Legend Frank Thomas Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
As a fan of baseball — and someone that works in the sport, one of my favorite days of the year is when Major League Baseball announces its next class of National Baseball Hall of Famers. It also usually falls on my birthday (January 8th)!
On January 8, 2014, Greg Maddux (97.2 percent), Tom Glavine (91.9 percent), and Chicago White Sox legend Frank Thomas (83.7 percent) were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Those three legends will join three legendary managers Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, and Bobby Cox in Cooperstown, NY. The Hall of Fame Induction ceremony for this year is going to be very special.
Frank Thomas, aka, the “Big Hurt”, finished with a lifetime batting average of .301 to go along with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs. A five-time American League All-Star, and two-time MVP Award winner, Thomas was the best of the best during his playing days. He was also a force at the plate. He was feared and he was always a threat for a long ball.
Among some of his other accolades, Thomas won a batting crown (1997), four Silver Slugger Awards, the 1995 Home Run Derby, and earned American League Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2000. His #35 was retired by the White Sox on August 29, 2010.
Thomas, who played 19 Major League seasons, also finished his career with 2,468 hits, 495 doubles, 1,494 runs scored, 1,667 walks — all impressive numbers. He is one of just four players in the history of the sport (Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Ted Williams are the others) with a career average of .300, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs scored, and 1,500 walks.
A first-round selection of the White Sox (7th overall) in the 1989 draft, Thomas made a quick jump to the Majors. In fact, he only spent 10 games at the Triple-A level in his career — all with the Charlotte Knights on a rehab assignment in
2005 — the same year he won a World Series Championship with the Chicago White Sox.
In 1989, Thomas played for both the Gulf Coast White Sox (R) and the Sarasota White Sox (A). A year later, he hit .323 with 18 home runs and 71 RBIs for
Double-A Birmingham. After that, Thomas was a Major League superstar. In 1991, he hit .318 with 32 home runs and 109 RBIs for the White Sox.
Through the course of his remarkable career, Thomas rehabbed just that one time in the Minors — 2005 with the Charlotte Knights. He made his Triple-A debut on May 17, 2005 in Ottawa as the Knights took on the Lynx on the road. In his first game with the Knights, Thomas went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a double, and a walk. The “Big Hurt” played the entire series against Ottawa (four games), before continuing his rehab in Buffalo against the Bisons (three games).
On May 25, 2005, Thomas began a three-game stretch with the Knights at Knights Stadium. There was a media session and there were autograph seekers. Thomas handled both very well. He also handled himself at the plate very well — hitting a three-run home run off Indianapolis starter Zach Duke in the first inning of a Knights 3-1 win over the Indians (May 27, 2005).
Frank Thomas is a legendary baseball player and now, a Hall-of-Famer. He’ll go into the Hall of Fame as a Chicago White Sox player and will go down in history as one of the all-time greats. Congratulations Frank, you deserve it!
On another note, former Charlotte Knights player Curt Schilling — who posted a 5-2 record with a 3.18 ERA in seven starts for the Knights in 1988 — fell short after he received 29.2 % of the vote. He’ll be back on the ballot again next season.
One other former Knight fell short in his attempt to enter the Hall of Fame. Hideo Nomo, who played one game with Charlotte in 2006 (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3 IP), fell
off the ballot after he gained just 1.1 %.