Frank Thomas, aka The Big Hurt. Unquestionably the best hitter in White Sox history, and quite possibly the best player. At his peak, Frank Thomas was probably one of the top 7 hitters in the history of baseball. The only guys that clearly had a higher extended peak as a hitter are Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle. Guys like Mike Trout, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmie Foxx, and Albert Pujols came close, but I don’t think they quite reached the heights that Thomas hit for an extended period of time. Though with the way Trout is hitting this year, he may yet close the gap!
If I could change one thing in Sox history, it would have been to keep Thomas healthy in 2005. He had a low batting average that year, but was on pace for one of the best power seasons of his career when he got hurt. He had 12 home runs in 124 plate appearances. While it’s unlikely he would have kept up that pace over a full season, that pace would have netted him 58 home runs in 600 PA.
As much as I loved the Sox 2005 World Series run, it broke my heart that Thomas was sidelined for all of it. If anybody deserved to take part in that, it was the Big Hurt.
On a more personal note, Frank Thomas has been my favorite player from day 1 as a Sox fan. I’m basically a Sox fan because of Frank. I didn’t really have a favorite team when I started getting autographs at Angels games as a 12 year old in 1991. Then I graphed a Sox series and met the Big Hurt. He was such a physically imposing presence, but also a really nice guy. He signed every day, and I was hooked.
Back then I was only getting cards signed, and an occasional Beckett magazine. I eventually splurged and bought a baseball for Frank to sign. I was a welfare kid, so that was the best I could do. I’ve come a long way since then. I’m sure there are better Frank Thomas collections out there, but I’m pretty proud of mine. Here are my collection totals as they stand today:
Cards – 63
8x10s – 5
Magazines – 9
Baseballs – 9
Large Photos – 11
Bats – 3
Jerseys – 3
Posters – 2
Helmets – 1
Mini Helmets – 1
Total – 107
Without further ado… my Frank Thomas collection!