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Just A Reminder: Frank Thomas Never Used Steroids, Was Actually Still Quite Good

by Ricky O'Donnell on January 13, 2010 at 2:11AM

Nothing makes me change the channel like steroid talk, and, as you can imagine, I've been doing a lot of channel changing the last three days. Steroid talk doesn't get my pageviews. My pageviews are valuable (like yours!) and need to go to Important Things, like Death Metal Rooster. There is no time for steroid talk.

Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids on Monday. Forgive him, don't forgive, whatever, who cares. If you're really pissed about this though, my advice to you would be to chillax, possibly by listening to some chillwave bands. This isn't startling, and it hardly should be considered this big of a deal. Mark McGwire used steroids? Next you're going to tell me that Natalie Gulbis isn't a professional D.C. tour guide.

It's pretty clear at this point that nearly everyone in the mid-to-late 90's voluntarily decided to destroy their testicles - hitters, pitchers, fielders, Don Zimmer - you know, everyone.

Everyone, that is, besides for The Big Hurt.

On Monday's SportsCenter, John Kruk complained about how even the stats of non-steroid abusing guys from the Steroid Era now look worse. It's a good point, especially from someone has fat as John Kruk. But that doesn't apply to Thomas, one of the only guys from that era we can definitively say didn't juice. If anything, Thomas' numbers only look more insane now.   

How good was Frank? Joe Posnanski puts The Big Hurt in some historical perspective.

Every so often I hear someone ask: "Is Frank Thomas a Hall of Famer?" Are you kidding? Frank Thomas' first full seven years -- .330/.452/.604 with OPS+ of 182. I want to repeat that -- an OPS+ of ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY TWO. Just as an example ...

First seven full years:
Frank Thomas: 182
Mickey Mantle: 181
Albert Pujols: 167
Willie Mays: 164
Barry Bonds: 160
Joe DiMaggio: 159

To give you an idea, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Hank Greenberg, and a 100 other Hall of Famers never ONCE had an OPS+ of 182 in a season. Frank Thomas is one of the best hitters in baseball history.

Better than Albert Pujols and Willie Mays. For the first seven years, at least. Still, that's kind of nuts.

41 Comments | Leave a comment

Mariotti still doesn't think he is first ballot material

I couldn't agree more. I am not a Sox fan, but the big Hurt was a great player and a class act (contrary to popular belief). I'm not 100% certain about anyone not doing 'roids in the 90s, but Thomas is the closest.

Big Huge Sox fan! Love the big Hurt, but I could never say anyone from that era was not using. Put an asterisk on the entire era and let them in the hall. Honestly - was the most fun baseball ever was.

If I had to bet on a guy being clean it's Thomas. I've done 5 cycles myself, for what it's worth. My immediate thought on hearing his retirement was first ballot. Then I ran over the numbers kinda quick. That guy was a monster for a nice stretch. I remember thinking back during those MVP years that maybe this will be the guy to make a run at 60 hrs. Watch, Frank Thomas' numbers are only gonna get better once this 'roid static finally plays out. Bonus points for one of the better modern baseball nicknames:)

Everyone, that is, besides for The Big Hurt.

This is truly fantastic stuff - thank you too your knowledge

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