Frank Thomas says he should be first-ballot Hall-of-Famer
Frank Thomas, who retired following the 2008 season with a career .301 batting average, 2,468 hits, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI, is eligible for the Hall of Fame next year.
File photo by Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer
This year, not a single player is going to the Hall of Fame.
That includes all-time home run leader (762) Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, who all fell far short of induction their first time on the ballot.
Throughout his career and now into retirement, Frank Thomas has been an outspoken critic of players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds, Clemens and Sosa all fit the profile, and Thomas feels strongly they got what was coming.
"I wouldn't say I feel bad for them," Thomas said at SoxFest on Saturday. "I respected them on the field, but they chose this. They made their own decisions off the field and they've got to live with it.
"Anytime you look at the PED situation, you look at the Lance Armstrong situation, you look at stuff like that, it's serious out there. Thank God I'm blessed I did it the right way. I had a good family base that made me outwork everybody else because that's the only way I made it to the big leagues."
Eligible for Hall of Fame induction for the first time next year, Thomas has the career numbers to make Cooperstown on the first try.
The greatest hitter in White Sox history retired following the 2008 season with a .301 batting average, 2,468 hits, 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI.
"I think I've done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer," Thomas said. "Watching all the nonsense unfold and not really knowing what was going on, it makes me much more proud of my career. I competed in that era. I played at a high level in that era. There are a lot of great players but as it unfolds, a lot of it was not the real deal. I know 100 percent I was the real deal."
Morel on the mend?
Brent Morel hit 7 home runs in September of 2011 and was the White Sox' opening-day starter at third base last year.
Morel played in only 35 games with the Sox before a back injury ended his season, but general manager Rick Hahn said he still has a shot at making the 25-man roster this year.
"I saw him the other day and he looked great," Hahn said. "He's still in the mix. There's no reason for us to push him away."
Newcomer Jeff Keppinger is expected to be the Sox' regular third baseman, but he is versatile enough to play all over the infield. If Keppinger is moved elsewhere, Morel could possibly sneak his way back into the lineup.
"He hit 7 home runs (in September of '11) and was driving the ball to all fields and we were saying he could be a long-term solution," Hahn said. "We'll have to see in (spring training) when he's diving for balls and other things, but he's back on track."
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