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Frank Thomas hoping for Hall of Fame enshrinement next year

Jan 26, 2013, 6:15 PM EDT

Frank Thomas

In town for SoxFest on Saturday, Frank Thomas was his typical direct self in expressing his desire to enter Cooperstown next winter and in labeling the numbers of steroid users “fake.”’s Dan Hayes has the story, which includes a video interview.

Thomas has a very clear sense of his place in history, and he knows he ranks among the elite. And while bitter might not be the right word, he still takes issue over losing the 2000 AL MVP award to a player in Jason Giambi who later admitted to cheating.

“I spent my whole career working my butt off and hopefully I get what I deserve,” Thomas said. “Of course I would be disappointed [if unelected]. I’m not going to lie to you. Of course I will. Like I said, I think my resume speaks for itself. Losing a third MVP to a guy who admitted he was PED, I think that would have put me at another level that only a couple of guys have enjoyed ever in this game. The 12-year-run I had was incredible, very historical. So, I think I’ve done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

Thomas is right about that. He’s also right about the MVP thing. The only player ever to win more than three is Barry Bonds, one of those with “fake” numbers, according to Thomas. Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt all won three apiece.

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will join Thomas on the ballot for the first time next year. Thomas indicated that he’d like to see those two and Craig Biggio share the stage with him at induction.

  1. brewcrewfan54 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    He’s not modest but he’s not wrong.

    • stoutfiles - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:54 PM

      The Big Hurt is one of the few from his era that put up Hall numbers without cheating. He and Griffey should be first ballot, no question.

      • ireportyoudecide - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:53 PM

        Cheating? What rule did they break.

      • dan1111 - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:33 AM

        Steroid use was against the rules throughout the relevant period, though obviously they didn’t treat it nearly as seriously as they do now.

      • dan1111 - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:35 AM

        See this article for more details. Steroids were explicitly banned since 1991:

      • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:18 AM

        Can we have White Sox GM Kenny Willams do the intro speech ? ” The man (frank thomas) is an idiot !”. Got love Kenny. Frank would stay up to 4 in the morning in his music studio taping the night before a doubleheader before Kenny traded him.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      You know, I don’t believe in false modesty. If you’re good, say so. There’s a difference between bragging and being self-aware.

  2. biasedhomer - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    You mean losing the 2000 MVP award.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      Whoops. Thanks!

  3. holleywood9 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    I think he deserves HOF. But first ballot doesn’t really happen in MLB. And don’t think he deserves first ballot.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM

      First ballot doesn’t happen? That’s just not true.

      • tuberippin - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:29 PM

        He didn’t say it doesn’t happen EVER, but that it doesn’t “really” happen, i.e., it doesn’t happen OFTEN. To that end, he makes a solid point.

        There’s 300 people in the HOF, 243 of which are former players (including 35 Negro League players).

        Of those 243 players, forty-six were elected first-ballot. That’s 18.93% of the time, which can by no means be misconstrued as a common occurrence as it’s less than one-fifth of the player inductees and 15% of the entire Hall of Fame.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:57 PM

        Guys who deserve to get in right away, do. And going back all the way to the Hall’s beginnings can skew the numbers because voting practices or methodology may have changed. Either way first ballot happens enough to me to make his statement untrue.

    • cur68 - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      Which rule is that first ballot thing again? Can’t seem to find it anywhere….

  4. angusmaximus89 - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    coming from a twins fan he is absolutely a first ballot hall of fame guy. hated him!

    • 1twinsfan - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      Yeah, as a Twins fan myself, I’d grimace when the big hurt came to the plate. I hated him. An appreciative kind of hate, not a Yankees kind of hate. Thomas should be in the HOF.

  5. pbannard - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Campanella also won 3 MVPs – ’51, ’53, and ’55.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      Ugh. My bad. Fixed now.

    • badintent - Jan 29, 2013 at 3:14 AM

      Might have won one more if not for his tragic car crash near Mill River Club in Muttontown NY,one of the very few clubs that allowed black members thanks to U-Thant and his efforts.

  6. Gordon - Jan 26, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    He is absolutely a first ballot HOF’er. Loved watching him play when I was younger. Hated when he would open his mouth. Always seemed to be upset or complaining about something.

    In hindsight, maybe he was justified. He was the same size from the time he started to the time he left. I believe him when he says he always played clean. He probably didn’t get as much pub as a result.

    If the BBWA want to make a statement about the PED guys, whether we all agree with them or not, they should be voting for guys like Thomas.

    • phillyphever - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:49 PM

      Eh, he did get a little bigger towards the ends (must have hit the buffet lines hard later in his career).

    • paperlions - Jan 27, 2013 at 9:54 AM

      Frank Thomas most certainly was NOT the same size when he started in pro ball until he retired. Go find his rookie card and then find one from 10 years later. He was always a big guy, but he added a lot of muscle mass (and then other kinds of mass) throughout his career. I am not implying anything about how he got there, but to say that he was the same size throughout his career is just wrong.

  7. mybrunoblog - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Thomas seems to have forgot his humility pills today but he was a great non PED player. I remember calling him “the big skirt” at times during his career. I felt he was a Whiner at times and obsessed with his own numbers over team. Just like life however, I seem to now remember mostly all good things about Thomas and not the bad.
    If he gets in on the first ballot there is no injustice taking place.

  8. thebadguyswon - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    If Mike Piazza gets suspected of PEDS, so does Frank Thomas.

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 27, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      Really? Ok…then give me your proof that Thomas is clean and Piazza isn’t. How do you people actually think Thomas gets off scot-free when no one else does? Seriously. Wake up. They are going to lump Thomas in with all the others. Its ridiculous – I KNOW – but they’re going to do it.

  9. paperlions - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    Thomas must think Bagwell was a user, because Bagwell was a better 1B than Thomas, but Thomas apparently doesn’t want to share a stage with him.

  10. mdac1012 - Jan 26, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    This first ballot nonsense is getting tiresome. Either your a Hall of Famer or your not. If you are, then you belong in regardless of whether its the first ballot or not.

  11. flosox - Jan 26, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Baller! FT for HOF!

    One of my fav rookie cards BTW!

    • kalinedrive - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:56 AM

      The Frank Thomas No Name Topps card was hot hot hot back in the day.

      • braddavery - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        “Was” hot? It has been selling for close to $1,000 recently, ungraded.

    • ugglasforearms - Jan 27, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      I have a couple of 1990 Leaf #300s
      Those are my favorite rookie cards.

  12. cowboysoldiertx - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    The “big Hurt” was the scariest hitter alive during his prime. Unquestionably a HOFer!

  13. ireportyoudecide - Jan 26, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    It wasn’t cheating until 2005 Frank, get over it. You weren’t willing to do whatever it took within the rules to win. Giambi was. Call Manny a cheat, he broke the rules. Giambi did not.

    • dan1111 - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:37 AM

      That is not true. Steroid users were breaking baseball’s rules since 1971, and in 1991 a policy was introduced that explicitly banned steroids.

      • paperlions - Jan 27, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        Yep, that same rule covered amphetamine use as well….which were freely available in every MLB clubhouse for decades after the “rule”.

  14. genericcommenter - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Tom Glavine wasn’t as good as some of the pitchers already on the ballot and some more joining him who won’t get in. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is a “first balloter,” though- since he hit some magic numbers. Then again, Biggio hit magic HOF numbers and didn’t make it. Will Glavine have to wait?

    • braddavery - Jan 27, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      I hope not. He may not have 3,000+ Ks or 350+ wins, but he’s one of only 9 pitchers ever to have 2,500+ Ks, 300+ wins and win 100 more games than losses. Guy had FIVE 20-win seasons, is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and was in top-3 voting SIX times for the Cy Young Award. Dude is a legend and if not for Maddux being in the same rotation, would be MUCH more famous.

  15. genericcommenter - Jan 26, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    The people who vote for MVP and Cy Young are terrible with or without “cheaters.” Some “PED guys” won things when they weren’t even the best on their team, and teammates who should have won were top 10 at best.

  16. lionsplayoffs - Jan 26, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    He’ll get in eventually but not the first ballot. He was great in his prime but it didn’t last long enough. He was hurt too much, which helps his case when people accuse him of doping.

  17. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 27, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    I LOVE all the commenter who just say “He was the best non-PED” user. Really? How do you know he didn’t use PEDs? What, he didn’t fail a test? Neither did a lot of guys. He wasn’t “suspected”? Hmm. Sure sounds like communism and Joe McCarthy to me. If Thomas and Maddux make it next year, it will be the biggest sham in the history of the Hall of Fame and it will add to an already ridiculous and shameful issue.

    Let them ALL in or don’t let ANY of them in. Period.

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 27, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      Exactly. These writers obviously suspect everyone. Thomas will be no different. He will not get in next year.

    • dawsonfresh - Jan 8, 2014 at 10:17 PM

      Even in the 90’s he was willing to submit to voluntary testing. He was not allowed to do so by the union. However, he spoke out against it since it started becoming more public at that time, was willing to be tested, and was one of the few if only MLB players that testified to Congress without any suspicion during the hearings. The dude was willing to put himself on the line to prove he was clean. Virtually no one involved with MLB at any level has serious suspicions that he used.

  18. jackrabbit56 - Jan 27, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    To quote Walter Brennan as Will Sonnet – “No brag, just fact”.

  19. mrbiz8505 - Jan 27, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Look at Frank as a rookie…… Now look at Bonds and Sosa as rookies. Frank was HUGE his entire career…and still is. 1st ballot no doubt

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 27, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      The lesson is: if you’re going to build muscle, do it before you’re drafted. Otherwise you will be branded a cheater.

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 27, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Ok – then when exactly did Piazza’s body type change? I’ll wait. If Piazza isn’t a first ballot, neither is Thomas.

  20. astroman5000 - Jan 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    “I spent my whole career working my butt off and hopefully I get what I deserve”

    Jeff Bagwell feels the same way. Why is The Big Hurt above suspicion? You absolutely cannot put Frank Thomas in the HOF without Bagwell there. Can’t do it!

  21. kirkvanhouten - Jan 27, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Don’t worry Frank, you didn’t get screwed nearly as badly on the 2000 MVP as John Olerud did when you beat him out in 1993:

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