Considering he hadn't played in over a year, when Frank Thomas finally made the decision to hang up his spikes for good, back in 2010, it didn't come unexpected. Following a 19-season career, in which he hit 521 homers and won two American League MVP awards with the Chicago White Sox, 'The Big Hurt' forever put his stamp on the game of baseball.
That didn't make it any easier for those of us on the South Side of Chicago. Frank was and always will be bigger than life.
Meeting Frank Thomas back in early '90s at Mt. Greenwood Park.
Standing at 6'5", Thomas was a chiseled 240 pounds of pure destruction when he came walking to the plate. One of the most fearsome and devastating hitters of his era, he is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons (1991–1997) with a .300 batting average and at least 100 runs batted in (RBI), 100 runs scored, 100 walks and 20 home runs; over that period, he batted .330 and averaged 36 home runs and 118 RBI per year.
Finishing his career as a .301 lifetime hitter and a OPS of .974 leaves little doubt as to why his was a first ballot Hall of Famer.
In his first six full seasons, The Big Hurt hit over .300 every single season, including a staggering .353 in '94, .349 in '96 and .347 in '97. When it was all said and done, Thomas averaged 36 home runs and 118 RBI a year, all while consistently walking more than he struck out. He had no true weakness and will go down as one of the best right-handed hitters of our lifetime.
He could hurt you in a lot of ways, including to the opposite field bleachers. But, looking back at the longevity and consistency that he maintained, especially for a player of his size, you realize Big Frank was one of the most dominating offensive players that ever played the game of baseball.
Hence, 'The Big Hurt'.
Thomas is tied for 18th with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on baseball's home run list while driving in 1,704 runs. And in an era clouded by performance-enhancing drugs, he was outspoken against their use.
Thomas split his final three seasons between Oakland and Toronto, but he'll be remembered most for a 16-year run with the White Sox.
Make sure this icon is not forgotten by proudly wearing this custom t-shirt commemorating 'The Big Hurt' Frank Thomas.