|Years of Experience||18 years|
|Height||6 ft 5 in|
|Place of Birth||Columbus, Georgia|
|Selection||7th round 1989 Amateur Draft|
|Drafted by||Chicago White Sox|
|Major League Debut||August 12, 1990|
Frank Thomas became one of baseball's biggest stars in the 1990s, playing for the Chicago White Sox. He was given the nickname "The Big Hurt" by broadcaster Ken "Hawk" Harrelson. Thomas is one of several notable baseball players who played college baseball at Auburn University, most notably Bo Jackson, who was a teammate of Thomas in both college and the major leagues. He also played tight end for the school's football team.
Thomas played first base during the early part of his career and was not known for his defense. He never won a Gold Glove at the position, and has played primarily as a designated hitter since turning 30 years old. Rather, Thomas is known for his offensive performance; some regard him as one of the best pure hitters in baseball's history. "The Big Hurt" is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons of a .300 average, and at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 runs batted in, and 20 home runs (from 1991 to 1997). The only other player to have more than five consecutive seasons accomplishing this feat was Ted Williams with six. This accomplishment is even more remarkable considering that despite playing only 113 games in 1994, due to the labor stoppage which curtailed that season prematurely, he still was able to attain these lofty numbers, thereby keeping the streak alive.
Thomas was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia. He attended Columbus High School and was a standout in football and baseball.
Chicago White SoxEdit
In Thomas's first full season, 1991, Thomas finished third in MVP voting with a .318 batting average and 32 home runs. He won the first of four Silver Slugger awards, and led the league in on-base percentage, something he has done four times. Thomas has always been one of the most patient hitters in baseball, leading the American League in walks four times. Through the end of the 2006 season, Thomas was second among all active players in walks and third in on-base percentage, and ranked among the top 20 lifetime in both categories.
Thomas is one of only two first basemen in history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player awards in the major leagues (Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Foxx is the other, in 1932–33). Thomas accomplished this feat in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. From 1991–1997, Thomas finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting every year. In 1997, Thomas won the batting title and finished third in MVP voting. He struggled over the next two seasons, but rebounded in 2000 when he hit .328 with a career-high 43 homers and 143 runs batted in. Thomas finished second in MVP voting that season, behind Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics. He also won the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.
As a member of the White Sox, Thomas and teammate Magglio Ordóñez tied a major league record for back-to-back homers, with six in one season.
Thomas has been maligned by the media, especially in Chicago due to a dropoff in his performance later in his career. Much of this came about after the 2002 season, when the White Sox invoked a "diminished skills" clause in his contract. Oddly, this came after a season in which he hit 28 home runs with 92 RBI and 88 walks. Thomas somewhat resurrected his career in 2003; although he hit a subpar .267, he was tied for second in the American League in home runs (42), and was in the league's top ten in walks, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging. In 2005, Thomas hit 12 home runs despite only having 105 at-bats in 35 games, demonstrating the fact that he still had the power that he showed earlier in his career. Adding together 2004 and 2005, he had less than 350 total at-bats because of the injuries but managed to hit 30 home runs and draw 80 walks. Thomas won a World Series title with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, but he was not on the post-season roster due to injury.
Partially due to his recurring ankle and foot injuries, the White Sox declined to pick up the option year on Thomas' contract on December 7, 2005. However, there was some animosity in the negotiations as Thomas was called "an idiot" and "selfish" by Chicago White Sox general manager Ken Williams in a television interview. Thomas, for his part, criticized the White Sox for letting him go as a "passing by player" instead of treating him like a long-term mainstay for the team. He signed with the Oakland Athletics to a one year, $500,000 deal with incentives on January 25, 2006.
The Athletics installed Thomas as their everyday DH. He started the season slowly, but ended the season as the team leader in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. He has provided a powerful right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup for the division-leading Athletics.
On Monday, May 22, 2006, Thomas homered twice in his first game against his former team. Before Thomas came up to lead off the 2nd inning, a musical montage played on the Jumbotron at U.S. Cellular Field, paying tribute to Thomas's legacy with the White Sox. He was cheered in his introduction by the White Sox fans. Moments later, when he hit his first home run of the night to put his former team behind in the score 1-0, he was loudly cheered along with a standing ovation.
Thomas rejuvinated his career playing with the Athletics. Through September 26, he had 38 HRs and 109 RBIs, and was named the American League's player of the week after hitting .462 with five homers and 13 RBIs in the week ending Sept. 10. The 2006 post season provided Frank to play in his first postseason games since 2000, when the Athletics clinched the American League West title, defeating the Seattle Mariners, 12-3 on September 26. During the A's first playoff game on October 3, Thomas hit two solo home runs, leading the A's to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. His performance during the opening play-off game earned Frank the distinction of being the oldest player to hit multiple home runs in a Major League Baseball postseason game.
On October 7, 2006, he finished second in the voting for the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award to Jim Thome of his former team, the White Sox. If Thomas had won the award, he would join Norm Cash, Boog Powell, and Bret Saberhagen as the only two time winners in AL history.
Toronto Blue JaysEdit
On November 16, 2006 Thomas signed a 2-year, $18 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays which was officially confirmed on November 17, 2006. According to BlueJays.com, Thomas is scheduled to make $9 million (U.S.) in each of the next two season with an option for 2009 contingent on him reaching 1,050 plate appearances over the next two seasons or 525 plate appearances in his 2nd year of the contract. However, on April 19, 2007, Thomas was benched by manager John Gibbons, after slumping for much of the month of April. Thomas believed that the Blue Jays were sitting him solely for the purpose of voiding his 2009 option. The very next day it was announced that Thomas and the Jays had agreed on a mutual release, making him a free agent.
Appearances in the mediaEdit
- Thomas was born on the same day and year, May 27, 1968, as Houston Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell. The two have also had remarkably similar careers.   Each was named MVP of their respective league, on consecutive days, in 1994. The pair faced each other in the World Series in 2005, though Thomas was injured and inactive, while Bagwell's injuries kept his playing time to a minimum.
- Frank Thomas is also the name of a successful Major League ballplayer from the 1950s and 1960s. Though not as successful as the modern day Thomas, the older Frank Thomas was a three-time All-Star and is one of the 150 greatest home run hitters of all time, ranking 126 on the list as of 2006 (the modern day Thomas is 23rd). Both have also been featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, in 1958  and 2000 , respectively. The earlier Frank Thomas was Frank Joseph Thomas and was white (Caucasian) and was a National League player. The later Frank Thomas was Frank Edward Thomas and was black (African-American) and was an American League player.
- MLB players who have hit 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break
- Top 500 home run hitters of all time
- Frank Thomas at ESPN.com
- Baseball-Reference.com - Major league career statistics
- MLB.com profile
- IMDb: Frank Thomas (II)