Frank Thomas close to retirement…

…Which would make him five years away from Cooperstown.  Or it
better anyway, as the guy is a clear-cut first ballot Hall of Famer. 

With
my greater understanding, has come my appreciation of a player such as
Craig Biggio.  And now I understand why Bill James ranked him ahead of
Frank Thomas, as far as the greatest players of the 90’s are
concerned. 

The list, which I have referred to before, looks like this:

1) Barry Bonds

2) Craig Biggio

3) Ken Griffey Jr.

4) Frank Thomas

Number one cannot be disputed unless PED’s are brought up.

Number two can
be disputed.  And I personally have him fourth on my non-existent
list.  Although do appreciate him much more so–a middle infielder with
a good set of offensive skills.

Three and four move up a slot, but stay in the same order (Griffey then Thomas).

But
anyway, Frank Thomas was as great a hitter as most will ever see.  His
WARP is better than both Griffey’s and Biggio’s, at 95 wins above a
replacement player.  And that shows how great he really was, as the Big
Hurt didn’t offer, or contribute really anything of value on the
defensive side of the ball. 

Thomas, if his career is in fact
finished, will have an OPS+ of 156.  Over 19 seasons, well, that is
just incredible.  A line of .301/.419/.555 is just as astonishing.  And
he hit well every.single.year of his career with the exception of a 20
game, injury riddled season in 2001.  And in a 71 game season in 2008,
in which he was released by the Blue Jays, at the age of 40. 

Two MVP’s to his name, and Thomas was well-deserving of both.  Very well deserving. 

That
OPS+ of 156 falls in at 19th all time, tied with Manny Ramirez, Dick
Allen, and Willie Mays.  Not bad company, not at all. 

Thomas
was great at helping his team reach the bullpen as quickly as possible
too.  Thomas reached base a ton, as mentioned, and took well over four
pitches per plate appearance.  The guy was a patient beast.  He
wouldn’t beat himself often by putting himself into pitchers counts. 
And when he did swing, he mashed. 

Simply put, a great, great
hitter.  And there is no reason that any voter should not vote for him
during the first year of eligibility. 

And yes, Bill James, I do believe that Thomas was better than Biggio  🙂

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