Sports Outside the Beltway

White Sox GM: Frank Thomas an Idiot

Angry and disgusted with the latest comments from former slugger Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams fired back Sunday, calling the two-time MVP “an idiot.” “He’s an idiot. He’s selfish. That’s why we don’t miss him,” Williams said, responding to a Thomas interview that appeared in The Daily Southtown, a newspaper in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park, Ill.

Since signing with the Oakland A’s last month, Thomas has made it clear that he didn’t appreciate the way his 16-year run with the White Sox ended, saying that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf didn’t call him to tell him he wasn’t coming back. The greatest hitter in White Sox history reiterated that point in his latest interview, touching on several subjects and adding that he and Williams didn’t see eye-to-eye after Williams became GM following the 2000 season. At the time, Thomas was unhappy that his next-to-last deal with the White Sox contained a “diminished skills” clause. He said the White Sox should have traded him after the playoffs that season.

He also repeated that had he known last fall the team wasn’t going to bring him back — they later gave him a $3.5 million buyout — he wouldn’t have participated in a couple of ceremonial functions during the postseason. Unable to play because of an injury, he threw out a first pitch during the playoffs. Later he was given the opportunity to address the crowd at the end of the White Sox’s victory parade.

Williams said he was most irate over Thomas’ comments about Reinsdorf. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Jerry Reinsdorf, I do. But I really thought, the relationship we had over the last 16 years, he would have picked up the phone to say, `Big guy, we’re moving forward. We’re going somewhere different. We don’t know your situation or what’s going to happen.’ I can live with that, I really can,” Thomas said. “But treating me like some passing-by-player. I’ve got no respect for that.” Thomas said he wasn’t bitter or angry and had joined the A’s with an open mind.

But Williams was fed up that Thomas was still making remarks about his former team and the way he was treated. “Jerry has done everything over the course of 16 years to protect that man, to make accommodations for him, concessions for him. He loaned him money, at times, when he needed money,” Williams said.

“If he was any kind of a man, he would quit talking about things in the paper and return a phone call or come knock on someone’s door. If I had the kind of problems evidently he had with me, I would go knock on his door.”

That’s clear enough, I guess.

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