(For the Week of July 21-27, Southside Showdown will be celebrating Hall of Famer Frank Thomas with “Big Hurt Week” as we’ll take a look at Thomas’ career each day of the week, concluding with his Hall of Fame induction on Sunday, July 27. Help us celebrate the career of The Big Hurt by telling us your favorite memory of Thomas.)
Two of the best years to ever be a fan of “The Big Hurt” Frank Thomas were his back-to-back Most Valuable Player seasons of 1993 and 1994.
Those two seasons (’94 was shortened due to the MLB players’ strike), Thomas combined for 229 RBIs and 314 hits. Of those 300-plus hits, 79 were home runs and 70 were doubles in what amounted to 266 games.
When Thomas won the MVP in ’93, he became just the third White Sox player to win the award, joining Nellie Fox in ’59 and Dick Allen in ’72. No White Sox player has won the MVP award since Thomas in ’94.
In the ’93 season, Thomas hit his 100th career home run on Aug. 31 vs. the New York Yankees. Also in August ’93, Thomas was the Player of the Month.
In both of those MVP seasons, Thomas won the Silver Slugger award and was an All-Star for the AL. He was also the MLB Player of the Year in ’93.
But in 1993, nobody was stopping “The Big Hurt.” Just look at these numbers from 1993, his first MVP season:
– 153 games
– 106 runs
– 174 hits (36 doubles, 41 home runs)
– 128 RBIs
– 112 walks
– .317 batting average (54 strikeouts)
– .426 on-base percentage
– .607 slugging percentage
Those numbers are incredible, especially with a power hitter like Thomas having just 54 strikeouts and a batting average of .317 in 152 games played in.
If those numbers don’t impress you, here is what he did in a strike-shortened season of ’94, where only one can wonder even how much better these Hall of Fame numbers would have been:
– 113 games
– 106 runs (MLB leading)
– 141 hits (34 doubles, one triple, 38 home runs)
– 101 RBIs
– 2 steals
– 109 walks, 61 strikeouts
– .353 batting average
– MLB-leading .487 on-base percentage, .729 slugging percentage
Those MVP numbers are even more impressive because there is no doubt Thomas would have most likely surpassed his numbers from ’93, which were quite impressive.
In those two seasons (both All-Star seasons for Thomas), the White Sox were 94-68 in ’93, winning the AL West, and 67-46 in 113 games in ’94.
So in 275 games in those two seasons, the White Sox won 161 times, winning nearly 60 percent of their games.
Those two seasons not only made Thomas a household name in baseball circles, but in the sports world in general. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about the “Big Hurt.”
Seeing the White Sox on national TV on WGN is a memory I’ll always have of Thomas, because he was the first baseball player I ever idolized as a kid, and to this day, he is still my all-time favorite baseball player.
Those years went a long way in my gaining a love for the game of baseball, and Thomas used those two seasons to build a resumé that qualified him to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Tell us your favorite memory of Thomas from those two seasons.