After 20 seasons in professional baseball Frank Thomas, The Big Hurt, has decided to retire. As a free agent he went unsigned through the 2009 season and rather than hold out any longer he’s decided to hang up the spikes. His retirement is no surprise seeing how he told listeners on the “Waddle & Silvy” show that he was 95% sure he was on the verge of retiring back in June of 2009. Frank put up great numbers in his career, a lifetime .300 hitter, member of the 500 HR club, back-to-back AL MVP awards and he never struck out more than 115 times in a season.
What’s more important than all that is his stance on performance-enhancing drugs. “when Senator George Mitchell was preparing his landmark report on steroids in baseball, he requested interviews with five players who had spoken out publicly about performance-enhancing drugs, and who had never been suspected of using them. Four declined. Frank Thomas accepted—and became the only active major-league player to willingly cooperate with the investigation.”
He was big, he was muscular and he hit a lot of home runs. He came into the game listed at 6’5, 245 and retires at 6’5, 275 (Barry Bonds retired 55 pounds heavier than when he came into the game). The man has always been big. He didn’t need steroids, and it’s shame his numbers do not standout more because of all the players who did use them. So it’s no surprise he stood up and spoke when no one else would.
It bears mentioning that since the last time I mentioned Frank Thomas I was able to obtain a 1990 Topps rookie card of his, BCCG graded out at a 9.
Before too long his number 35 will be retired on Chicago’s south side. A few years later he’ll be enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Unlike most of his contemporaries he left something behind. So I wanted to say thank you Frank Thomas. Thanks for keeping it clean and calling out those who didn’t. I’m sure we’ll see him around.