The Big Hurt = Greatest Hitter in Sox History

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As Frank Thomas broke into the big leagues in 1990 and emerged as one of the game’s great hitters, I observed on more than one occasion that we Sox fans had been waiting our whole lives for a offensive force like The Big Hurt.

We never had a Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron or Roberto Clemente, but Frank came as close as we’ve ever come to such a hitter and each time he stepped to the plate it became a must-see event.

Now, two decades after his big league debut in Chicago and short stints with the A’s and Blue Jays as well, Hurt is retiring. Retiring, I might add, as the greatest hitter in White Sox history (with apologies to Shoeless Joe Jackson). He is the franchise leader in home runs, runs batted in, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, total bases, doubles, walks, intentional walks, sacrifice flies and extra base hits.

In this particular case career stats don’t lie–and, as you can see, virtually all of his major accomplishments in 19 major league seasons were, of course, achieved in his 16 years with the Sox.

* .301 lifetime batting average
*  521 home runs (9 seasons with 30 or more, 5 seasons with 40 or more)
*  1704 runs batted in
*  .419 on-base percentage
*  .555 slugging percentage
*  1667 walks
*  2,468 hits
*  1 AL batting title (.347)
*  2 AL MVPs
*  4 Silver Slugger awards
*  5 All-Star selections
*  A 2005 White Sox World Series ring

Furthermore, Thomas is one of only four major leaguers–Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Mel Ott are the others–to end their careers with at least a .300 BA, 500 home runs, 1500 RBI, 1000 runs scored and 1500 walks. And not only has he not been mentioned in regard to using steroids, he has been an outspoken critic of performance-enhancing drugs.

It’s been well known that Thomas’s relationship with the White Sox has been rocky. However, it’s heartening to see that he’s being welcomed back into the family. On August 29, his No. 35 will be retired on “Frank Thomas Day” and my guess is that it won’t be long until there’s a statue in his honor at The Cell along with the other Sox elite. And five years from now there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll enter the stratosphere that is Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.

5 Comments

Frank Thomas always seemed to find a way to beat the Rays.
I actually caught a foulball off him once and it stung my hand for the rest of the game.
All that strength and power and no bad enhancements….
That in itself id a tribute to the professional he was….and I would be shocked if he is not a First Ballot guy in 2014.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

It’s weird, because you would think that there had to be someone on the White Sox better than Frank Thomas, but there isn’t. Carlton Fisk and Luis Aparicio didn’t have nearly as good numbers as Thomas. I don’t think that Thomas will be a first ballot hall of famer, because he played in the steroid era. Although he is clean, it will take him 2 or 3 years to be enshrined in Cooperstown
http://ibreathebaseball.mlblogs.com/

I disagree with I breathe. I think Frank will be first ballot because (by all accounts) he played clean during the steroid era.

Frank Thomas most definitely be inducted on the first ballot. In large part because he ws clean during the steroid era. That and the historic numbers he put up from 1991 through 1997. Numbers matched by only 2 or 3 other players in baseball, all in the Hall of Fame.

Good tribute. The “Big Hurt” was awesome.
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