Now, that the MLB has moved past the debacle that was the 2013 Hall of Fame voting, it is time to look ahead to 2014. Some of the game’s greatest players will be hall eligible for the first time in 2014–including SP Tom Glavine, SP Greg Maddux and DH Frank Thomas. In my mind, all three of these players deserve to be part of baseball immortality. Let’s dive into Thomas in particular as his case is one of many dimensions.
In an interview on Thursday, Thomas said that “his resume speaks for itself” and sounded very confident he would be voted in. Thomas’ numbers are astounding as he finished his 19-year career with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI. Not to mention Thomas led the league in walks four times, OPS three times and intentional walks twice. The old adage that “if Frank Thomas didn’t swing it wasn’t a strike” rings true to this day as he had a spectacular eye at the plate. Thomas did not shy away from the accolades claiming he “dominated the game.”
Perhaps more important than those statistics is the fact that Thomas was never rumored to Performance Enhancement Drugs. He battled injury towards the end of his career and was never quite the same player after his 43 home-run season in 2001. If any player had a reason to take drugs in order to improve rehab it was Thomas. Instead, he dwindled away and ended his career as a shadow of the specimen he was with the Chicago White Sox.
The initial argument is that, like former Seattle Mariner DH Edgar Martinez, Thomas didn’t play a position for the bulk of his career. However, that argument is irrelevant as he played 969 games at first base and 1310 as a designated hitter. Sure, Thomas did not win any gold gloves, but he did his part and then some to help his club win ballgames.
Thomas assures that he is “proud of [his] numbers” and that they were “legit” and of course, “clean.” We will wait and see if Thomas receives the same fate as fellow steriod-free star Craig Biggio when next year’s voting tallies roll in.