We never had a Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron or Roberto Clemente, but Frank came as close as we’ve ever come to such a hitter and each time he stepped to the plate it became a must-see event.
Now, two decades after his big league debut in Chicago and short stints with the A’s and Blue Jays as well, Hurt is retiring. Retiring, I might add, as the greatest hitter in White Sox history (with apologies to Shoeless Joe Jackson). He is the franchise leader in home runs, runs batted in, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, total bases, doubles, walks, intentional walks, sacrifice flies and extra base hits.
In this particular case career stats don’t lie–and, as you can see, virtually all of his major accomplishments in 19 major league seasons were, of course, achieved in his 16 years with the Sox.
* .301 lifetime batting average
* 521 home runs (9 seasons with 30 or more, 5 seasons with 40 or more)
* 1704 runs batted in
* .419 on-base percentage
* .555 slugging percentage
* 1667 walks
* 2,468 hits
* 1 AL batting title (.347)
* 2 AL MVPs
* 4 Silver Slugger awards
* 5 All-Star selections
* A 2005 White Sox World Series ring
Furthermore, Thomas is one of only four major leaguers–Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Mel Ott are the others–to end their careers with at least a .300 BA, 500 home runs, 1500 RBI, 1000 runs scored and 1500 walks. And not only has he not been mentioned in regard to using steroids, he has been an outspoken critic of performance-enhancing drugs.
It’s been well known that Thomas’s relationship with the White Sox has been rocky. However, it’s heartening to see that he’s being welcomed back into the family. On August 29, his No. 35 will be retired on “Frank Thomas Day” and my guess is that it won’t be long until there’s a statue in his honor at The Cell along with the other Sox elite. And five years from now there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll enter the stratosphere that is Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame.