HOF Profile: Frank Thomas

frank_thomasThe 1990s were one of the biggest offensive eras in the MLB with more offence than the league had ever seen before. Home runs were being hit at a record pace and records were being broken almost every season. Then it all came crashing down with the BALCO Scandal and the Mitchell Report that exposed rampant steroid use throughout the league. Some of the biggest stars in the game during the 1990s were connected to these scandals putting the offensive era in baseball under a cloud. The likes of Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, and Roger Clemens were all connected to the scandal putting the biggest stars and their accomplishments in doubt. The results of the era were seen in 2013 when the Baseball Hall of Fame would look at Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the greatest statistical players in the history of the MLB, and said that they did not belong in the hall of fame. In fact the 2013 class would be non-existent as every player up for election seemed to be connected to steroids and therefore would not make it. Still there were players who had great accomplishments throughout the 1990s and were never connected to steroids. Frank Thomas was one of these players who could be considered one of the greatest hitters of the 1990s. He may not have the stats to back it up when put against the other statistical leaders but when you remove the batters that were linked with steroids there is no competition to Thomas. He was a player that would be one of the offensive leaders in the MLB and did it without the use of performance enhancing drugs. Throughout the 1990s men like Frank Thomas were easy to come by but Thomas is a player that the MLB can look back on as a positive story out of the era. As a result Thomas would enter his first year of eligibility with plenty of people believing that he should join the greatest of all time. He will enter on his first year of eligibility and will be a message to the rest of the people in that era that only the best players that are clean should make it into the hall of fame as Thomas leads the way.

Originally a two sport athlete Thomas seemed like he was headed for a football career with a massive size that the NFL loves. His true passion was always baseball though and after being overlooked time and time again due to his size he would struggle to find a place to play out of high school going to Auburn to play both sports. Eventually Thomas would be drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 1989 as a first baseman and designated hitter. The designated hitter was a position made for a player like Frank Thomas as he was a pure power hitter. He would come off of the bench and be able to pick up and smash the ball wherever he wanted. His command of the batter’s box was seen very quickly in his career. In only his first full season in the MLB Thomas would hit 32 home runs and 109 RBIs but it was just the start of one of the greatest streaks in the MLB. It would be 8 seasons with 100+ RBIs and during that time he would have 6 seasons with 30+ home runs. In a 7-year stretch Thomas had 20+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, 100+ walks, and a .300 batting average, a feat that was never seen before and has yet to be seen again. Thomas was one of the most prolific hitters in baseball and throughout his career he was consistent in his power. That consistency would make him a part of the 500 HR club and gave him the nickname “The Big Hurt.” The ability to consistently put up runs and consistently be one of the most powerful hitters in the game made him one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, a fact that will be proven when he enters the Hall of Fame as a part of the class of 2014.

frank_thomas

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