The greatest player in Chicago White Sox history, Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas is making his first appearance of a baseball Hall of Fame ballot this year in his first year of eligibility.
Number 35 played in 19 seasons (click here for stats) in the MLB, hitting .305 with 521 home runs and many more extremely impressive statistics. Thomas was very possibly the best hitter of the '90's. He was the American League MVP in 1993 and '94, and had as dominant of an eight-year stretch as the game has ever seen.
As laid out beautifully by South Side Sox, Frank's first eight MLB seasons ('90-'97) were nothing short of historical.
He's got the 11th-highest OPS+ in history (156), and the top 10 are inner-circle Hall of Famers and Barry Bonds … His first eight years rank among the greatest in history. From 1990 to 1997, he hit .330/.452/.600, good for an OPS+ of 182.
As they go on to list, that is second all-time behind only Ted Williams and ahead of guys like Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle.
But we know The Big Hurt was good. We know he was great. And frankly, the Hall of Fame voters do too. But as Margalus lays out on SSS (again, we highly recommend the article), there are several reasons why Thomas may not be voted in this year. At least in my opinion, some of those reasons are fair and others are not.
But Thomas was the hitter of a generation. He was one of, if not the only and the greatest beast to walk out of the steroid era without asterisks blurring his legacy.
For all you Sox fans out there that have been waiting awhile to get back to Cooperstown to watch one of your idols' induction ceremonies … well, paitence may just have to be key. Not that that'll be easy; I mean, I want him in as much as anybody else. He's the reason I had a lead pipe in the on-deck circle all throughout little league.
Frank will get in. But especially in a year with so many greats tainted by steroids on the ballot (McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, etc.), it just has the feeling of an even trickier ballot to pass through than normal.
Though he's not in a class with Thomas, another White Sox great, Ray Durham is also on the ballot this year. He won't make any noise, but it's great to see a fan-favorite like Durham get this little bit of recognition.
Photo credit: SunTimes.com
Durham played 14 seasons in the MLB, the first eight of which (before getting dealt to Oakland in '02) were with the White Sox. He hit .277 in his career with 192 home runs despite being a lil' 5'8 second baseman.
Boy, were those guys a pleasure to watch.