Author’s note: This is the first of many weekly pieces to come spotlighting a player or game in Chicago White Sox history. The White Sox were founded all the way back in 1894 and the team has since employed 36 members of Baseball’s Hall of Fame. This is a team rich in history that has also seen its fair share of controversy. It’s a team that shared in the misery of a many decades-long championship drought with their Northside counterpart, the Cubs.
Before being the spokesperson in the Nugenix commercial, in an era of Major League Baseball marred by rampant steroid use, there was Frank Thomas.
Nicknamed “the Big Hurt,” and rightfully so, Thomas was the seventh overall selection from Auburn University in the 1989 draft.
He played 19 seasons in the Major Leagues, with 16 of those seasons on the Southside of Chicago. In his final three seasons, he played a season and a half with the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland A’s.
For a guy who was an imposing 6-for-5 and 240 pounds, he obviously hit with power. He tallied 521 home runs in his career and had eight seasons where he hit 35 or more home runs, including five straight seasons from 1993 to 1997. However, the surprising thing that is often not the case with power hitters is as follows: Thomas was also a career .301 hitter. He finished his career just 32 hits shy of 2,500 and compiled 495 career doubles. He drove in over 100 runs in. 11 different seasons. He also led the league in walks four separate times.
During his time in Chicago, Thomas, who played first base and designated hitter, was a two-time (and back-to-back) Most Valuable Player in 1993 and 1994. He was a five-time All-Star selection and a four-time Silver Slugger.
He was, without a doubt, a unanimous fan favorite of the White Sox faithful. If there was a Chicago offensive highlight on television in the 1990s, Thomas was most likely involved in it.
Frank Thomas’s No. 35 was retired by Chicago in 2010. He was elected to Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
Whether you are a fan of the White Sox or just a fan of baseball in general, Frank Thomas definitely comes to mind when you think of this franchise.