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Look at Ray Ray Run

Frank Thomas; Baseball's 74th greatest player (The Athletic)

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First of all, I want to say this is about 30 spots too low for Frank. 

This entire piece is worth a read, but I wanted to quote one part about Ozzie that just had me dying - knowing Guillen and Frank's relationship and how interesting it was (Frank and Ozzie were closer than most thought. Ozzie and Frank's personalities were always polar opposites, but they worked well together and Guillen always knew how to get a rise out of Frank but he was also Frank's staunchest defender when criticism was real). 

"There’s a vivid and telling scene in Reilly’s SI piece about Thomas — it happened after ESPN baseball analyst Dave Campbell suggested that the way to get Thomas out was with high inside fastballs. Campbell cited Thomas’ record against Nolan Ryan; Frank was 0-for-12 with 11 strikeouts against the legend. Of course, all 12 of those at-bats were in Thomas’ first three seasons.

It’s fair to say Thomas was not impressed.

“Who the @#$%^ is Dave Campbell?” Reilly quoted Thomas screaming in the clubhouse. “A %$#@! .213 hitter trying to tell me what I can’t hit? A .213 hitter? Telling me I can’t hit fastballs?”

The scene — which, by the way, was delightfully enhanced by Ozzie Guillen, who egged on Thomas by shouting, “That’s true! You cannot hit fastballs!” — is so telling for any number of reasons. Two of them stand out."

Now onto Frank and his ranking. Thomas was arguably the greatest RH peak hitter in baseball history - having one of the three greatest 7 year stretches in MLB history. In the modern Era, Frank Thomas is the greatest pure hitter since the league became integrated. Frank, ironically enough, was slightly underrated in his era because he came around right before walks got their proper due. Frank's story was always fantastic to follow - a baseball player in a football players body and region. Frank never was given a chance, but he was spectacular in every way and proved his talent. 

https://theathletic.com/1516374/2020/01/13/the-baseball-100-no-74-frank-thomas/

Ozzie was the GOAT teammate; he'd drive you crazy, but he had your back. Ozzie was one of Frank's biggest supporters, despite driving Frank crazier than any of his other teammates. 

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Reinsdorf should give him a paycheck every year for the rest of his life for robbing him of 1994

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Agreed that Frank is too low. But if you look at his stats, he wasn't the same player after he turned 30. While his OPS was INSANE from his rookie season through his age 29 season, he cracked 1.000 in OPS only once after that, in his 32nd year. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/thomafr04.shtml

If you only looked at that 7-year run, Frank was a top 5 hitter of ALL TIME. But injuries diminished his greatness in the latter half of his career. 

It was a little ironic the Sox would win the World Series in a year where he started only 28 games. But he still chipped in 12 HRs and 26 RBI. 

Clearly the best player the White Sox have ever had. 

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Good read. The mention of him being a spokesperson for Nugenix was a bit of a strange addition to the article though. 

Edited by sj91

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7 minutes ago, Kyyle23 said:

Reinsdorf should give him a paycheck every year for the rest of his life for robbing him of 1994

There's the story that Reinsdorf bailed Thomas out and gave him/lent him a good amount of money when he was going through his divorce. That was a really tough time in Frank's life, and Jerry was there for him. If you want to know how deep Reinsdorf's loyalty goes for his own, Frank has always been a good place to point. That said, Jerry really did fuck Frank with the strike in '93.

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2 minutes ago, sj91 said:

Good read. The mention of Thomas' Nugenix pitching was a bit of a strange addition to the article though. 

Yeah, guys pretty much just selling boner/sex drive supplements - that's par for the course for aging athletes. I was happy they added that part about steroids though; they didn't add the anecdote that Thomas was willing to give a blood test in violation of the PA agreement - giving up his union status - just to clear his name because that's how passionate he was about it. I'm happy someone talked him down because giving up his retirement and health care just to show people he was clean was a dumb thing to do.

Frank was clean and he shouted it earlier than everyone else. When the era gets meshed together in 50 years, I will be the crust old guy swearing by Frank and telling them all he refused to use.

Edited by Look at Ray Ray Run
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5 minutes ago, VAfan said:

Agreed that Frank is too low. But if you look at his stats, he wasn't the same player after he turned 30. While his OPS was INSANE from his rookie season through his age 29 season, he cracked 1.000 in OPS only once after that, in his 32nd year. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/thomafr04.shtml

If you only looked at that 7-year run, Frank was a top 5 hitter of ALL TIME. But injuries diminished his greatness in the latter half of his career. 

It was a little ironic the Sox would win the World Series in a year where he started only 28 games. But he still chipped in 12 HRs and 26 RBI. 

Clearly the best player the White Sox have ever had. 

Yeah, I'm a huge fan of "peaks" when evaluating greatness. It's why I think Jeter was so overrated; he was just the Biggio of SS. They were very good, but neither of them had peaks to the level of a Frank Thomas.

Give me a player with one of the three greatest peaks in baseball history over a guy who was very good for 12 years. I'll take that 7 year impact, with the rest of Thomas' career thrown in there. There has never been a more intimidating right handed hitter in the games history, and if you exclude Barry Bonds from the past 40 years there's never been a more intimidating man to play the game. Frank defined "if he didn't swing, I don't think I can call it a strike" from umpires. Him and Bonds had strike zone recognition that we will possibly never see again.

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@Look at Ray Ray Run the fact that he put up that peak without a whiff of PED is the most incredible thing about Frank as a player imo.  Sure he was into weight training and legal supplements from his days a TE at Auburn, but Frank was clean and about as natural as you can get in pro sports.  An amazing athlete.

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I cant see on the link the other players that are ranked better than Frank?

Edited by Chisox378

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Frank is the reason I am a baseball fan, so I also agree this is too low. However, I don't think it is indefensible. His peak wasn't particularly long, and he was a 1B/DH only. I'm not going to get mad at the number itself, let's wait to see who is ahead of him first.

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I agree Frank is a little low on this list for my liking, but I will hold my judgement until they release the full list. Thomas is going to be limited because he was a 1B. I’m sure defense is being taken into consideration.

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I don't think anyone needs to be particularly concerned with the order of these players in Posnanski's project--the number isn't important; he's just finding a reason to write cool and thoughtful pieces about 100 of the best players ever.

This was great--I thought some of it sounded familiar from a piece on Posnanski's blog from around the time Frank retired, and the end of the piece confirmed that. He's very very good at writing baseball.

Edited by 3GamesToLove

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On 1/13/2020 at 11:11 AM, sj91 said:

Good read. The mention of him being a spokesperson for Nugenix was a bit of a strange addition to the article though. 

At least they didn't call him The Big Hunk

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I think 74 is about accurate if it includes pitchers. Just position players he is top50 of course.

Thomas is 54th in position player fWAR and 80th including pitchers.

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Really dissapointed I was too young to miss his prime years in the Sox uniform. Same thing with Michael Jordan. I wish I got to experience all of that Chicago sports history. Just missed out on it.

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74th my left nut, Frank is easily in the top 50.  He got screwed by playing so much of his career in the roid era.  Normalize for that and you’ve got a completely different calculation.  

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On 1/13/2020 at 9:39 AM, chitownsportsfan said:

@Look at Ray Ray Run the fact that he put up that peak without a whiff of PED is the most incredible thing about Frank as a player imo.  Sure he was into weight training and legal supplements from his days a TE at Auburn, but Frank was clean and about as natural as you can get in pro sports.  An amazing athlete.

I know Frank was a 1st ballot HOFer but all those guys on steroids pissed me off because Frank probably lost an MVP to one ( Giambi) and didn;t make a lot of All star teams either for a guy who had a great 7 year run .

His 1st 2 full seasons he came in 3rd and 8th in MVP balloting and didnt make the All STar team either year.

1993 and 1994 he won back to back MVP's and made his 1st 2 All star teams. Frank could have won the Triple Crown and appeared in a World Series if not for the 1994 strike. He also had a .494 OBP in 94 . Frank went 1 for 1  in 93 and 2 for 2  in 94 so 1st 3 All Star AB's he got 3 hits.

1995 8th in MVP votes and made 3rd All star team. Frank wins the HR Derby and hits a HR in the game. 1 for 2 with 2 RBI

1996 8th in MVP again and 4th All Star team. No At bats in the game.

1997 3rd in MVP voting and 5th All Star team and last. Again no AB's for Frank

1998 off year for Frank only a .381 OBP instead of his usual ,450 !

2000 age 32  2nd in MVP voting no All Star game. even though he was hitting .333 with 26 HR's at the break.

So for his whole Career Frank only had 5 All Star AB's and had 4 hits. Not sure if he got any walks . The box scores I found weren't that comprehensive on Baseball Almanac.

2003 age 35 15th in MVP no All Star game

2006 with Oakland age 38 3rd in MVP voting as a DH only No All Star game

2007 with Toronto 23rd in MVP and no All Star game.

According to Frank he got snubbed 8 times for the All Star team

Frank made 14 post season All Star teams but those don't really count.

 

 

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