Tag: Frank Thomas

Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2014: Date, Time and Key Inductees

Once a year, tiny Cooperstown, New York becomes the most important sports town in America.  

The transformation occurs when baseball’s year class of historic greats is ceremoniously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, forever cementing their status as heroes and ambassadors of our national pastime.

This year’s class is a truly remarkable one. It features two 300-game winners, a member of the 500-home run club and three managers with eight World Series rings between them.

Here is the rundown of all the information you need to check out the induction ceremony.


2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Where: Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown, New York

When: Sunday, July 27

TV: MLB Network

Live Stream: www.baseballhall.org 


Rolling Stone‘s Dan Epstein made an excellent case regarding how this Hall of Fame class should resonate with today’s baseball fan:

And unlike last year, when the Hall inducted a class made up entirely of guys who died before America even entered World War II, all six of these gents made their HOF bones during the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. In other words, they’re ours; if you’re a baseball fan of legal drinking age, you must at some point have rooted for (or against) these guys, while witnessing and debating and marveling at their respective accomplishments in real time.

While every member of this class is a bona-fide baseball hero, here’s a primer on the accomplishments of a few key inductees.


Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux was one of the game’s smartest pitchers, thumbing his way to 355 wins and an astonishing career 3.16 ERA. 

The numbers during his run of four consecutive Cy Young Awards are a beauty to behold, even in table form.

His control of the ball and mastery of the strike zone were nearly unparalleled in baseball history. In 5008.1 innings pitched, Maddux gave up just 999 walks. He made a fine living painting the black with his array of darting fastballs and change-ups.

According to Maddux, the Hall of Fame call hasn’t changed his day-to-day existence.

“Not really,” he said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan (subscription required). “Still take the trash out.”

There are a number of wonderful nuggets to be found in Maddux’s career statistics. He recorded a stolen base at the age of 42 with the San Diego Padres. Not bad for a pitcher in his 23rd season of pro baseball.

This is certainly a big weekend for Braves fans, as four of the inductees have been involved with the team at some point in their careers. It’s tough to stratify the greatness of this class, but Maddux just might be the most impressive of them all.


Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt.

One of the great nicknames in all of sports belongs to one of baseball’s all-time mashers. Thomas amassed 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI in a mind-blowing 19-year career.

The two-time MVP put up eye-popping numbers throughout the 1990s and 2000s, thanks to a laser-sharp focus (.301 career batting average) and an imposing physical presence at the plate. 

Perhaps the biggest shock of Thomas’ career is that he made only five All-Star teams, despite hitting over 30 home runs in a season nine times.

Everyone talks about Thomas’ prodigious power but former teammate Paul Konerko noted he had a truly sublime swing.

“Most people look at the size and strength, but that’s really secondary,” Konerko said, via the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan. “His swing was really good and just designed to be more for average, not for power. But with his size and strength, it turns into more than that.”

Thomas was a terror right up until the very end of his career, mashing 39 home runs at the age of 38 in his first season with the Oakland Athletics and another 26 dingers with the Toronto Blue Jays the very next year.


Joe Torre

You may not like Joe Torre, but you can’t argue with his success as a manager. 

Torre led the New York Yankees to four World Series titles in the 1990s, commandeering the likes of Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada. His Yankees made the playoffs in each of his 12 years in charge.

Brad Horn, the Hall’s vice president of communications and education, believes Torre could bring a huge crowd to Cooperstown. Via MLB.com’s Paul Hagen:

And here in New York state, Joe Torre is about as popular a figure as they come when it comes to baseball. We feel like many Yankees fans could just drive over for the day just to celebrate Joe Torre’s election. It just has the right recipe for a very large weekend here in Cooperstown.

Torre didn’t have quite as much success as a manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of his coaching career, nor did he look like a future member of the Hall after stints with the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals. No matter, as his legacy is firmly intact thanks to his accomplishments with the Yankees.

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Potential Hall of Famer Frank Thomas Was a .250 Hitter According to 1 Scout

Frank Thomas is mediocre—at least that’s what one scout seemed to think back in 1989. 

As Frank Thomas looks forward to possible induction into the Hall of Fame, it’s fun to look back at some scouts who did their best to play baseball soothsayer with the hulking behemoth who once smashed the cover off the ball. 

Busted Coverage pored over a few reports centered on the slugger right before he took his initial steps into MLB legend. 

The following snapshot and scouting assertions come thanks to the archives of Baseballhall.org. Thomas’ page at Diamond Mines features scouting reports from five baseball prognosticators. However, we simply have to start with the most intriguing, Larry Maxie’s report from 1989 (pictured below). 

The part BC found funny and you will no doubt enjoy is the summation that, as best we can tell, reads, “.250 hitter tops, if that. But will hit HR’s (20 on bad year if he gets 500 ABs).” 

That’s essentially like saying Brooks Robinson might be able to stop some grounders from getting through the infield or that Don Drysdale had a slight propensity to throw inside when crowded. 

As we now know, Thomas finished his career a .301 hitter who clubbed 521 home runs and drove in 1,704 runs. 

While he didn’t maintain his prolific output throughout his career, a quick look at his Baseball Reference page is a nice exercise to appreciate his talent anew. 

From 1990 (his age 22 season) to 1997 (29), he managed to hit over .300 every single season, batting a career high .347 in 1997. 

He would then bat .305 and .328 in 1999 and 2000 respectively. What’s more, from 1990 to 2007, his OPS dipped below .800 just once—his 2001 season that saw him play in just 20 games. 

All of this is to say Thomas was very good for a very long time. It’s also important to note the overarching theme here: scouting is hardly an exact science. 

And really, we don’t want to give Maxie too hard a time, because it’s impossible to see every single instance of greatness with 100 percent accuracy. 

If you recall, Busted Coverage spotted a similar scouting report on another former star with eyes on a Hall of Fame prize: Greg Maddux. 

In 1985, Mets scout Duffy Dyer wrote, among other things, that Maddux was, “not strong enough to be a starter.” He also labeled him as tops a Triple-A player. 


To be fair, Maxie does note the otherworldly power. That’s essentially what you get from the other scouting reports as well. 

Mike Rizzo (1988) states, “power and bat are very exciting.” Donald Labossiere (1989) says it best, “Has genuine loft ML power now. His mistakes go 360 feet.” And really those are the best kinds of mistakes. 

CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa seems to think Thomas, a big man who fits the physique of someone suspected of PED use, has long been outspoken against the once popular methods of his colleagues. 

It’s that longtime vocal support for testing that, as Axisa offers, makes Thomas a far better candidate to get into the hall than most. 

The Chicago Sun-Times’ John Grochowski went a step further and proclaimed that Maddux and Thomas are the obvious worthy candidates in this year’s class. 

Regardless, it has to be an honor to merely be considered for inclusion among the sport’s best. If he does get in, it will be pretty darn good for a hitter whom one scout considered to be little more than mediocre. 


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Frank Thomas’ Scouting Report from 1989 Predicted He’d Be a ‘.250 Hitter, Tops’

Former Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas is a surefire Hall of Famer. Apparently, though, at least one scout had his doubts.

This scouting report, which was submitted in advance of the 1989 MLB draft when Thomas was taken seventh overall by the White Sox, misses the mark a couple of times.

Among other things, it says the former Auburn Tiger projected to be a “.250 hitter, tops,” would “hit 20 HR on [a] bad year if he gets 500 AB” and graded out as a “C” prospect.

He was right about Thomas being “one huge person” and his fielding concerns, however, as Thomas is still “huge” and finished his career with 80 errors and a .991 fielding percentage. 

Report courtesy of Diamond Mines of the National Baseball Hall of Fame 

Larry Maxie, the scout who submitted the report, had an eye for talent, too. Some of the players he signed include former White Sox and New York Yankees starter David Wells and Greg Myers, who caught for 18 seasons.

To his credit, he only saw Thomas play in three games, and it appears that the future All-Star’s defense overshadowed his offensive prowess.

In hindsight, it is hard to fathom that a scout could have been so wrong when evaluating a player that turned out to be one of the greatest hitters in MLB history, but that is what makes the evaluation process so much fun. Sometimes, there’s just no accounting for the type of trajectory a player’s career will take.

And for the record, the fewest home runs Thomas hit in a single season with at least 500 AB was 24 in 1996 while still with the White Sox, but he hit .323 with 46 doubles and finished eighth in MVP voting.

Thomas finished his career with a .301/.419/.555 slash line, 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, 495 doubles and 4,550 total bases.


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Derby Winners: Ranking the Home Run Derby Champions

The Home Run Derby is a yearly event that captivates the nation like few others. People are naturally attracted to the long ball, and seeing the sluggers duke it out to see who is the game’s biggest bopper is a great thrill.

The first incarnation was a television show in the 1960’s that showed the best hitters of the day competing for cash prizes by seeing who could hit the most big flies. Hank Aaron was the most successful, winning six straight competitions, and Mickey Mantle also won a few.

Since the most known and current competition started in Minneapolis in 1985, it has grown in popularity to the point where it is close or more important than the actual All-Star Game.

The true explosion in the event’s popularity occurred when it began airing in 1993 on ESPN. Since then, it has been a who’s who of sluggers that have won the event.

The cloud of the steroid era looms large over the competition because of the list of winners that have been implicated in scandals over the years.

Regardless, these players have left us in awe, admiration, shock, and amazement.

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2010 Home Run Derby: Where Have All The Sluggers Gone?

After watching Monday’s Home Run Derby, I couldn’t help but notice the names on the board just didn’t carry the anticipation and ambiance of years gone by.

David Ortiz certainly has his place in history as a clutch power hitter in one of the most storied venues in all of baseball. However, he must have had the same feeling Yao Ming has standing amongst his fellow countrymen.

Ortiz stood a head and shoulder above the competition, and although the other competitors hit some deep dingers, there has certainly been some premiere, although likely juiced up, sluggers who outrank this year’s competition.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Home Run Derby participants of the last 20 years who made the event more exciting than it is today.

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Frank Thomas, Ted Williams, and the Adjusted 500 Home Run Club

In a recent column, I set out to provide an Adjusted 400 Home Run Club , with alterations made based on era, missed time, and favorable vs. non-favorable home ballparks.

Humorously, this simply raised more questions about the 500 Home Run Club than it did answer questions about the 400 Home Run Club.

So, maybe we should adjust that club as well.

(Eek, eek. Twitch, twitch.)

Are we about to change the baseball world? Probably not, but let’s give it a try. As with the 400 Home Run Club, we should probably do this by era. 

And remember, McGwire haters, this isn’t about era and it isn’t about steroids. Yet. 


The Pre-1993 Club

The pre-1993 500 Club had the following members: Frank Robinson (586), Harmon Killebrew (573), Reggie Jackson (563), Mike Schmidt (548), Mickey Mantle (536), Jimmie Foxx (534), Willie McCovey and Ted Williams (521), Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews (512), Mel Ott (511), and Eddie Murray (504). 

Starting at the top of the list, we look to Frank Robinson , who finished only 14 home runs from 600. It is hard to put Willie Stargell into the 500 home run club without putting Robinson in the 600 Home Run Club, as Robinson missed many games after the age of 30 during which he easily could have mustered 14 more dingers. But you can’t say he didn’t have a nice long career—he ranks 19th on the career list in plate appearances. 

At the end of the day, he fails the Rocky Colavito Test. For his career Robinson hit 321 dingers at home, and only 265 on the road. He is probably a lot closer to 550 than he is to 600. 

Harmon Killebrew was the elite slugger of the 1960s, and led the lead in dongs six times in his career. He missed 49 games in 1965, 62 games in 1968, and 93 games in 1972. He led the league in home runs in his first full season, at the age of 23, and he played his last full-time season at the age of 35.

In 1957 he hit 29 home runs in the minors and still didn’t stick in the majors until 1959. Scatter a few more games around his career, bring up sooner or leave him in longer, and he gets the 27 home runs he needs to get to 600 easily.

In my opinion, if Reggie Jackson had begun his career in 1950 or in 1990, he would have hit 600 jobs easily and would have gunned for 700. Again, that’s not what this is about. 

Over the course of his career, Reggie had a 280/283 home run split. He was kind of like Stargell in that he didn’t ever play full seasons—only six seasons out of 21 with 150 or more games played. He missed a handful of games to strike in 1972, and missed a lot more due to the strike in 1981.

Could he have managed 37 more home runs over 21 seasons if not for strikes and games missed? I am less willing to say “definitely” than I am with Stargell, because Jackson is not as close to 600 as Stargell is to 500, and Jackson did not miss as many games. With over 11,000 plate appearances, it is hard to say he didn’t have a full career. 

Mike Schmidt finished with 548 home runs. He hit 283 home runs on the road, compared to only 265 at home. He led the league in dongs eight times, including with 31 in the strike year of 1981. But 52 home runs is a lot of home runs to find in a guy’s career, and Schmidt’s appears to have been a full one. 

Mickey Mantle and Jimmie Foxx are both guys whose own ruinous behavior cost them potentially hundreds of games, and both finished about 65 shy of 600. 

Mantle hit 54 home runs in 1961 at the age of 29, but then never played over 143 games again and was out of baseball at 37. If not for his own behavior, he probably would have easily accumulated 65 extra home runs over the next seven years, and probably could have played until the age of 40. 

Foxx tumbled out of baseball even earlier than Mantle, leading the AL with 35 home runs in 1939 (in only 124 games) at the age of 31, and then playing only two more full seasons after that. I expect that Foxx, too, could have managed 65 more home runs if he’d been on the field every day in those years. 

These are two of the greatest sluggers of all time, but I’d be a whole lot more comfortable if either of them had reached 550 or 560 home runs. 10, 20, or even 30 home runs can be chalked up to alcoholism, but 65 is too many. 

At the bottom of the list we find Eddie Murray , trembling in his seat only four home runs over 500. He had the great benefit of playing past 1993, and capturing his 80-plus home runs in the expansion/steroid era. But that’s his prerogative.

He also led the league in home runs during the strike season of 1981, and missed about 50 games in 1994. Furthermore, he hit 262 home runs on the road. He’s fine. 

Mel Ott has 511 home runs and led the NL in home runs six times. He played 22 seasons and had over 11,000 plate appearances, so he gets no credit for being done at the age of 36. Ostensibly, I would give Ott the benefit of the doubt until I saw his splits officially.

Unfortunately for Ott, numerous sources state that he hit 323 home runs at the Polo Grounds. If this is true, it leaves only 188 home runs on the road. Not only does Ott not make the 500 Club without the Polo Grounds, but he is dangerously close to failing the Rocky Colavito Test for the 400 Club. Sorry Mel. 

Ernie Banks , on the other hand, needs no benefit of the doubt. Banks hit 512 career home runs, but only 221 of them on the road. If not for Wrigley Field, he would not have hit 450 home runs. 

Eddie Mathews , on the other hand, hit at least 20 more home runs on the road while playing his career in Milwaukee County Stadium, and was out of baseball at age 36. His spot in the 500 Home Run Club is well earned. 

Can’t take anything from Willie McCovey . He was robbed of home runs by playing time, injury, and arriving late to the league. At the same time, can’t give him 79 home runs to get to 600 for any reason either. 

Which brings us to Ted Williams.  

For the record: 9791 plate appearances, 521 home runs. We only have split data for his last seven years, and during those seven years he hit 22 more home runs on the road than at home (81/103).

So out of the gate, his numbers are already incredible. We’re not dropping him, and he’s probably already up to 550 home runs. 

Williams, of course, went to World War II from 1943 to 1945—three full seasons. In 1941 he had one of the greatest hitting seasons of all time, and he led the league in home runs in each of the two years before he left with 37 and 36, respectively. Upon his return, he hit 38 and 32 in consecutive years. It would be conservative to say he lost 100 home runs to World War II. 

Then Williams got called back to the military in 1952, and missed most of 1952 and 1953 due to the Korean War. His performance in seasons around Korea were less impressive than those around WWII, but he hit 30 home runs in 1951, and then hit 29 in 117 games in 1954. It would be reasonable to say he missed about 50 home runs due to Korea. 

So, let’s add it up: a bump to 550, then 100 for WWII, and 50 more for Korea. Low and behold, he’s a 700 Home Run Clubber! 

Actually, I have a hard time adding 179 home runs even for Ted Williams. But I have no problem at all bumping him up 79 to 600. 


The Post-1993 Club 

The post-1993 500 Club had the following members: Mark McGwire (583), Rafael Palmeiro (569), Alex Rodriguez (594), Jim Thome (570), Manny Ramirez (554), Frank Thomas (521), and Gary Sheffield (509).

This is actually a really easy group to deal with. Right away, you take Mark McGwire and put him in the 600 home run Club. Even with the injuries, if he cared about the club he’d have played the one more year to get there. A case could be made that he is a 700 home run guy, but you only spot a guy so many home runs because of injuries. 

Rafael Palmeiro is a bad person. He lied to Congress, and he got busted. He also hit 311 home runs at home and only 258 on the road. But he is a 500 Club member, nothing more, nothing less. 

Alex Rodriguez is currently approaching 600 jacks, and may one day have over 700. Right now, he is right where he deserves to be.

Jim Thome has a shocking split: 315/255. Still reasonable though. He’s in.

Manny Ramirez currently has 554, with a 281/273 split. He’s got an outside shot at 600.

With 247 road bombs, Gary Sheffield is legit.

Frank Thomas, on the other hand, is a problem.

On the one hand, with 521 home runs he could have gunned for 600 if he’d been healthier from age 32 to age 40.  However, Big Frank managed to hit only 209 home runs on the road during his career.

The Rocky Colavito Test tells us that a player whose road home run total is 19 less than half the number required to be in the Club falls out of the Club. Thomas has 41 fewer home runs than half of 500 on the road.

Even injuries can’t make up for 41 home runs. Sorry Big Frank. 

So, after all of that adjustment, where are we?


600 Home Run Club 

Harmon Killebrew

Ted Williams

Mark McGwire 


500 Home Run Club 

Rafael Palmeiro

Reggie Jackson

Alex Rodriguez

Mike Schmidt 

Jim Thome

Mickey Mantle

Jimmie Foxx

Manny Ramirez

Willie McCovey

Eddie Mathews

Eddie Murray

Gary Sheffield 


400 Home Run Club 

Frank Thomas

Ernie Banks

Mel Ott 




Asher B. Chancey lives in Philadelphia and is a co-founder of BaseballEvolution.com

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MLB: The 10 Most Shocking Comeback Seasons Of The Past Decade

Every year there seems to be someone who comes back from certain retirement to once again establish themselves as a force in the baseball world.

This year is no different, and there are a number of players making surprise comebacks this season. Vernon Wells and Barry Zito come to mind immediately.

So I have decided to run down what I feel are the top ten comeback seasons of the past ten years.

Just to clarify, there is a difference between a breakout season and a comeback season. Aaron Hill last season is the perfect example of a breakout season, while Chris Carpenter was a prime example of a comeback season.

On with the list.

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