Who Am I?
From time to time I like to play this game of leading you down the Yellowbrick road to the Wizard of Oz (here is a link to my most recent venture in the world of Who am I?). With that brief intro, let’s get right to it.
* I made five All-Star teams (1993-97).
* I hit .301 in my career. Only 192 men who have ever played that game have posted a higher mark (minimum 3,000 plate appearances).
* I didn’t reach 2,500 career hits, but I did smack 2,468 of them, the 96th best mark ever.
* I didn’t reach 1,500 career runs but I did stroll across home plate 1,494 times, good enough for 68th all-time.
* I didn’t reach 500 doubles, but I did slug 495 two baggers, the 55th best mark ever.
* I knocked in 1,704 runs, the 22nd best mark of all-time.
* I had one of the best eyes at the dish – ever. In fact, I often was picked on by the media because I took too many pitches. As a result of my approach I walked 1,667 times, the 9th most ever, and that helped me to post an OBP of .419 (21st all-time).
* Because of all my extra base hits (26th all-time with 1,028) I was able to post the 25th best SLG ever at .555.
* Not surprisingly, since I’m 21st all-time in OBP and 25th in SLG, my overall OPS of .974 is top notch, 15th best ever actually.
* I was the AL MVP twice (1993-94).
* I have 4.79 Win Shares, the 13th highest mark in the history of the game thanks to those two wins, and six overall top-5 MVP finishes.
* I hit 521 homers in my career, the 18th best mark of all-time.
* I share the same name as a slugger who once hit 10 home runs in just 20 at-bats over six games in May, 1968.
Who am I? I’m Frank Thomas.
The reason I decided to write about Thomas should hopefully be obvious after reading all those numbers above (not to mention the fact that he officially retired from baseball on Thursday last week). The bottom line with Frank is that he was one of the most fearsome sluggers the game has ever seen – period. Let me place all of the above numbers into perspective.
How many players in history have hit .300 with 500 homers, 1,700 RBI, 1,400 runs and an OPS of .950? The answer is six, and obviously Frank is one of them. The others, well to say that they are some of the all-time greats is an understatement: Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
Not just a “numbers” guy, Frank was exceedingly well respected in his career as evidenced by his dual MVPs and the 13th most Win Shares of all-time, and that should clearly have led to some “love” for the guy from the fans and the media, but all many seem to remember is the lumbering injury prone hitter of the past few years.
As a counter argument to his potential election to the Hall of Fame you’ll get the argument that he wasn’t very athletic and that he was a poor defensive player. I can’t refute that in the least. However, the totality of his offensive work was so spectacular, remember the group of six referenced above, that if Frank is kept out of the HOF they should revoke the credentials of the voting body because if the voters don’t put a check in the box next to his name they clearly have no inkling of an understanding of what it means to be a dynamic offensive weapon, and therefore they have no business determining who is immortalized in the Hall of Fame.
By Ray Flowers