Okay, admit it; you had no idea Frank Thomas hadn’t already retired. Friday the Big Hurt made official by announcing the end to his 19-year MLB career during a ceremony held at U.S. Cellular Field.
Thomas, now 41, finished his career with a .301 average, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBIs. He won back-to-back MVP awards with the Sox in 1993 and 1994, and claimed the batting title 1997.
Thomas won a World Series ring with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, but parted ways with the Sox following the season amid a contentious relationship with GM Kenny Williams. He signed a one-year deal with the Oakland A’s in 2006 and slugged 39 homers with 114 RBIs. He finished his career with the A’s in 2008 following a brief stint with the Toronto Blue Jays.
In an are clouded with performance-enhancing drugs, Thomas was one the first to speak out against their use and maintain his innocence–and one of the few to actually tell the truth.
Thomas’s legacy as one of the best hitters in the history of baseball should be elevated to an even higher status considering his success came while many of his counterparts were doping. He was the best player in baseball in the mid-90’s and won a batting title despite being one of the slowest players in the game.
A quiet demeanor and occasional brushes with management painted Thomas in a negative light at times during his career.
Thomas will likely be a first ballot Hall of Famer. The White Sox will retire his No. 35 jersey on August 29.