The Daily Illini

Column: Don’t forget Frank

By Jon Gluskin

He owns the White Sox records for most career home runs, RBI’s, total bases, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs and walks. He’ll go down as the best player in franchise history.

And now during his team’s best season, he’s forced to watch it in street clothes.

It must be bittersweet for Frank Thomas.

Thomas has never once won a playoff series in his illustrious career, and now his team has won two without him.

That hasn’t stopped him from rooting on his team throughout the postseason, where he’s been in the dugout and dousing teammates with champagne after series clinchers.

The White Sox should have an extra incentive to win the World Series for the Big Hurt – not only for the spark he provided his team for a month this season, but for all the sparks he’s provided over the past 15 seasons.

Thomas played in 34 games this season from the end of May to the middle of July. The Sox went 24-10 in games that he played. Frank hit 12 home runs in only 105 bats, with a slugging percentage of .590.

But then he fractured his left foot and his short season came to an abrupt ending.

For the past few years, Thomas has been battling injuries. He’s clearly at the end of a phenomenal career, and it would be a fitting end to finally get a ring.

Despite the bad rap Thomas has gotten throughout the latter part of his career – being called a cancer and a baby in the clubhouse and fighting with ex-manager Jerry Manuel – Thomas has stuck with the Sox through thick and thin.

In this era of free agency, it’s not that often when you find a player like Thomas who sticks with one team for so long. But since Thomas came into the league in 1990, he has been a “Good Guy.”

He’s shown undying loyalty to the Southsiders and should be rewarded for it with a ring.

Growing up as a Sox fan, Thomas was my hero. If you were a Sox fan too, I’m sure you felt the same way.

This guy was larger than life. Every time he stepped to the plate, you knew he was going to get a hit – the only question was where it would land.

A pitcher dared not throw a hanging curve ball; Thomas would make him pay. If he didn’t swing at a pitch, it was because it was a ball. For that, Thomas will go down as having one of the best hitting eyes in the history of the game.

He was the poster child for the underachieving Sox during the 1990s – a team that never accomplished what it was capable of.

The best chance Thomas ever had of winning a World Series was in 1994, but that was taken away from him with the strike.

From 1991-97, he was the best hitter in baseball. He hit .300, had 100 RBIs, scored 100 runs, had at least 20 home runs and had 100 walks. No other player in history has ever done this for seven-straight years.

He won back-to-back MVP Awards in 1993 and 1994.

He’s now 38 and no longer the player he once was. He hasn’t hit .300 since 2000.

First base is now owned by Paul Konerko, who’s posting numbers like the Big Hurt used to.

The passing of the torch has happened.

The whole Sox team has played their hearts out this entire season. Each and every member deserves a championship. The city of Chicago deserves one as well.

Let’s just not forget about Big Frank. He’ll be doing his best from the dugout.

For all the memories Thomas has given us Sox fans, for all the fireworks he set off with his monster homeruns, for all the clutch runs he used to drive in, he should get his ring.

Win it for No. 35.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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