(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.)
Frank Thomas made his MLB debut on Aug, 2, 1990 after being selected with the seventh overall pick in 1989 by the Chicago White Sox out of Auburn.
Thomas ended up spending 16 seasons playing for the White Sox (1990-2005), building a resume that ended up being a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, including back-to-back MVPs (1993-94) and a World Series championship (’05).
Though Thomas didn’t play his final three seasons for the White Sox, spending those seasons alternating between the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays, Thomas is and always will be a White Sox first and foremost and in my opinion is the greatest player to ever wear the “SOX” logo.
For this first installment of “Big Hurt Week,” let’s look at the year 1990, where Thomas first made his MLB debut wearing No. 15 for the White Sox. He eventually switched to his famed No. 35, which is retired by the White Sox.
In 1990, Thomas played in 60 games, where he finished with a .330 batting average with seven home runs and 31 RBIs on a White Sox team that finished 94-68, second place in the AL West.
Thomas finished his White Sox career with 448 home runs, and overall, he totaled 521. The 448 home runs is just one of nine career records Thomas holds in White Sox franchise history.
How many of us remember the 1990 Topps rookie card? When I think of a young Thomas, that is the image that comes to mind.
The unique fact about Thomas’ path to his Hall of Fame career came when he made his debut against the Milwaukee Brewers … he went 0-for-4, but he did gain an RBI. The next day, he had his first of 2,468 career MLB hits.
His first home run didn’t come until Aug. 28, 1990 off Minnesota Twins pitcher Gary Wayne in a 12-6 loss by the White Sox. Also in ’90, Thomas was Player of the Week for the week of 9-23.
And to cap off his achievements for ’90, Thomas hit the final home run at old Comiskey Park on Sept. 27, 1990.
Here are some other stats from the 1990 season:
– 191 at-bats
– 39 runs
– 63 hits (11 doubles, three triples)
– 44 walks
– .454 on-base percentage
– .529 slugging percentage
Then there was his first full season where Thomas was third in the MVP voting for 1991, where in 158 games, he batted .318 with 32 home runs and 109 RBIs. Also in that ’91 season, Thomas led the MLB with 138 walks, a .453 on-base percentage and had the leading OPS at 1.006.
Thomas went on to lead the Majors in walks four of five seasons from 1991-95.
All the numbers listed above are just the start to what was a Hall of Fame career for Thomas. Remember to share your memories of “The Big Hurt” from any aspect of his career.