Sports Outside the Beltway

MLB First Baseman Frank Thomas retires after 19 years

He said the highlight of his career was being part of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. From AP-

Saying he’s “at peace” with his decision, Frank Thomas announced his retirement Friday following a 19-season career in which he hit 521 homers and won two American League MVP awards with the Chicago White Sox.

Considering he didn’t play last season, the news was hardly shocking.

“It took awhile to get to this point,” the 41-year-old Thomas said during a news conference at U.S. Cellular Field. “I know I hadn’t played since 2008, but I had to get baseball out of my system before I made this announcement. I’m happy with this announcement. I’m at peace with it. I had one heck of a career. I’m proud of it.”

With his power and ability to hit for a high average and reach base, Thomas figures to land in the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

AL Back-to-Back MVPs

A five-time All-Star who batted .301 with a .419 on-base average, Thomas is tied for 18th with Ted Williams and Willie McCovey on baseball’s home run list while driving in 1,704 runs. And in an era clouded by performance-enhancing drugs, he was outspoken against their use.

Thomas split his final three seasons between Oakland and Toronto, but he’ll be remembered most for a 16-year run with the White Sox.

He quickly emerged as one of the best players after debuting in 1990, winning MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and a batting title in 1997 while setting club records for home runs (448) and RBIs (1,465) before a bitter split following the 2005 World Series-winning season.

Thomas was upset when the club bought out his option for $3.5 million that December, and things got particularly nasty during the 2006 spring training. He sounded off in an interview with The Daily Southtown of suburban Tinley Park, Ill., and general manager Ken Williams responded by calling him “an idiot.”

Thomas was angry with the organization for portraying him as a damaged player, although injuries to his left ankle limited him to 34 games and made him a spectator as the White Sox grabbed their first World Series title since 1917.

He criticized owner Jerry Reinsdorf for not calling him before the team decided to let him go.

“We all know Kenny Williams and I had a big blowup,” Thomas said. “We both moved on. When you’re pretty much considered an icon in a city as a player, it’s always hard to let those players go. It’s never a pretty or nice scene. We’ve seen it over the years. You think of a Brett Favre, [Shaquille O'Neal] leaving L.A., Allen Iverson leaving Philly — he’s back in Philly, I’m happy for him. When players get to a certain level, it’s never easy to say goodbye.”

Thomas wound up going to Oakland and hit 39 homers with 114 RBIs in 2006 before signing an $18.12 million, two-year contract with Toronto. The Blue Jays released him early in the 2008 season, a day after he became angry after being taken out of the lineup. Thomas wound up back in Oakland, appearing in 55 games with the Athletics before a right thigh injury ended his season — and, ultimately, his career.

Bagwell was a great hitter and 1st baseman who oddly enough shared the exact same birthday(May 27, 1968) with another great hitter and 1st baseman, Jeff Bagwell. I think Bagwell was the better of the two players but both are likely to be elected to the Hall of Fame in the future.

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