The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected three of the 36 players on the 2014 ballot to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thomas was American League MVP in both 1993 and 1994, when he was with the Chicago White Sox, and was a five-time All-Star. His 521 career home runs are tied with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey for 18th all-time and he is also 20th in baseball history with a .419 on-base percentage and 14th all-time with a .974 OPS.
In 19 seasons with the White Sox, A’s and Toronto Blue Jays, Thomas hit .301/.419/.555 in 2,322 career games and 10,075 plate appearances, scoring 1,494 runs with 495 doubles and 1,704 RBI and he struck out 1,397 times against 1,667 walks.
“The Big Hurt” was the AL batting champion in 1997, hitting .347, and led the AL in on-base percentage four times (1991-92, 1994, 1997).
With the A’s in 2006, Thomas, at age 38, hit .270/.381/.545 with 39 homers and 114 RBI in 559 plate appearances, helping Oakland to an AL West title, and he was 5-for-10 with two homers as the A’s beat the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series for their first postseason series victory since 1990, slugging 1.200 in the series. He was 0-for-13 with two walks as the A’s were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
Thomas was the seventh overall pick in the 1989 amateur draft by the White Sox out of Auburn University, where he also played tight end as a freshman in 1986. He made his major league debut a little more than a year after being drafted, on Aug. 2, 1990, and other than a rehabilitation assignment in 2005, never played in the minors again.
He returned to the A’s in April 2008 after being released by Toronto and played in 55 games for Oakland in his final big league season, hitting .263/.364/.387 with five homers and 19 RBI in 217 plate appearances.
His 521st and final career home run came on Aug. 9, 2009, at Comerica Park in Detroit, a line shot to left-center field off Detroit’s Armando Gallaraga.
His 11.9 at-bats per home run rate in 2006 is tied for eighth on the Athletics’ single-season list.
Among the notable players not elected were former Houston Astros star Craig Biggio, who received 74.8 percent of the vote—two votes shy of the 75 percent needed for induction.
Of former Bay Area players on the ballot, former Giants slugger Barry Bonds still fell well short of the total needed for induction, getting just 34.7 percent of the vote, and Jeff Kent received just 15.1 percent of the votes in his first year on the ballot.
Complete voting results for former Bay Area players is below:
|Frank Thomas (A’s 2006, 2008)||83.7%|
|Mike Piazza (A’s 2007)||62.2%|
|Tim Raines (A’s 1999)||46.1%|
|Barry Bonds (Giants 1993-2007)||34.7%|
|Jeff Kent (Giants 1997-2002)||15.2%|
|Mark McGwire (A’s 1986-97)||11.0%|
|Moises Alou (Giants 2005-06)||1.1%|
|J.T. Snow (Giants 1997-05, 2008)||0.4%|
|Armando Benitez (Giants 2005-07)||0.2%|
|Kenny Rogers (A’s 1998-99)||0.2%|
|Ray Durham (A’s 2002, Giants 2003-08)||0.0%|
Players who receive less than 5 percent of the vote are removed from the ballot for next year.