CHICAGO (AP) — Frank Thomas has announced his retirement following a 19-season career in which he hit 521 homers and won two American League MVP awards with the Chicago White Sox.
The Big Hurt made the announcement Friday. Considering he didn’t play last season, the news was hardly shocking.
With his power and ability to hit for a high average, Thomas figures to land in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.
A five-time All-Star who batted .301, Thomas is tied for 18th with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on baseball’s home run list while driving in 1,704 runs. And in an era clouded by performance-enhancing drugs, he was outspoken against their use.
Thomas, 41, split his final three seasons between Oakland and Toronto, but he’ll be remembered most for a 16-year run with the White Sox.
He quickly emerged as one of the best players after debuting in 1990, winning MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and a batting title in 1997 while setting club records for home runs (448) and RBIs (1,465) before a bitter split following the 2005 World Series-winning season.
Thomas was upset when the club bought out his option for $3.5 million that December, and things got particularly nasty during the 2006 spring training. He sounded off in an interview with The Daily Southtown of suburban Tinley Park, Ill., and general manager Ken Williams responded by calling him “an idiot.”
Thomas was angry with the organization for portraying him as a damaged player, although injuries to his left ankle limited him to 34 games and made him a spectator as the White Sox grabbed their first World Series title since 1917.
Thomas criticized owner Jerry Reinsdorf for not calling him before the team decided to let him go.
He wound up going to Oakland and hit 39 homers with 114 RBIs in 2006 before signing an $18.12 million, two-year contract with Toronto. The Blue Jays released him early in the 2008 season, a day after he became angry after being taken out of the lineup. Thomas wound up back in Oakland, appearing in 55 games with the Athletics before a right thigh injury ended his season.