Thursday, January 31, 2013


I’m not even going to delve into the current PED mess floating around baseball right now. I will say this though, whether it's true or not, whomever linked Alex Rodriguez to this story has just done me a HUGE favor. What I’m about to say may blow your minds: Frank Thomas is the greatest power hitter of the last 25 years! WHAT? Yes! That's right, I said it.

Let’s all jump in our “way-back” machines to that magical year of 1990. The Yankees were dreadful. I was 11, really had nothing to cheer about (except for my hero Donnie Baseball). But it was another first baseman that competed for my heart way back then.

All of my friends and cousins instantly fell in love with Ken Griffey Jr. They did nothing but talk about his greatness and they all competed to see who could accumulate the most Griffey baseball cards. Not me, I was at the baseball card shop (do they even exist anymore?) seeking out Frank Thomas

Sure Griffey was fast and made playing centerfield look effortless, but there was something about this linebacker-sized guy playing first base and hitting monstrous home runs that caught my eye.

Thomas had a stellar career with the White Sox. He came back from a torn triceps muscle and continued putting up power numbers. Aside from all that thought, he had a terrific eye. He amassed over 1600 walks in his career. (A number that I’m sure is padded because of the fear opposing pitchers had facing him.) Ultimately it was the broken foot in 2004 that was the beginning of the end for Thomas.

When he finally called it quits in 2010, after sitting out all of 2009, Thomas had amassed a .301 lifetime batting average, 521 home runs, 1704 RBI, and a .974 OPS. His .301 puts him ahead of both Griffey and ARod. He’s currently tied for 18th all-time for home runs with 6 known or suspected PED users in front of him (Bonds, Rodriguez, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Manny Ramirez) and 22nd in RBI. He did all of this playing his home games in pitcher friendly Comisky Park.

Over the weekend Thomas was quoted as saying that all of this talk about PEDs makes his accomplishments much more special, read HERE. And he’s correct. He’s never been linked to anything. Thomas came up as rookie as a large man and retired as the same large man. For the most part he was never flashy, never controversial, seemed to be a terrific teammate. Unless something earth shattering comes out over the next year he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer – something Alex Rodriguez will never accomplish.

--Lem Allen, BYB Contributor
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