1993 and 1994: Frank Thomas, AL Most Valuable Player
Frank Thomas put a Big Hurt on the rest of the American League in 1993 and 1994, leading the Chicago White Sox to their first division title in a decade in 1993 and having the Sox on the way to another division crown before the players’ strike stopped the 1994 season in its tracks in early August.
In 1994, Thomas had powered the White Sox to a 67-46 record and a one-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the newly created AL Central Division and the numbers he put up in 113 games would have been outstanding over 162.
In 517 plate appearances, Thomas slashed .353/.487/.729, leading the league in on-base and slugging percentage. He belted 38 home runs and 34 doubles, drove in 101 runs and scored a league-best 106, while his 109 walks also led the AL.
That effort came on the heels of Thomas’ first MVP performance in 1993, when the White Sox finished eight games clear of the Texas Rangers in cruising to their first American League West title in 10 years, stepping into the void created when the Oakland A’s went into rebuilding mode.
Thomas played in 153 games for the 94-win club, hitting .317/.426/.607 in 676 plate appearances. Thomas had 36 doubles, 41 homers, 128 RBI and scored 106 runs. He was walked 112 times with only 54 strikeouts.
Although Chicago fell in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, Thomas was 6-for-17 in the series with 10 walks. The Blue Jays were careful not to let Thomas beat them, pitching around him often in favor going after cleanup man Robin Ventura, who was 4-for-20 in the series.
Thomas had a solo home run in a 7-4 White Sox win in Game 4 at Toronto to even the series at 2-2.