Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Hall call: Thomas, Glavine and Maddux enter shrine

By
From page B4 | July 27, 2014 |

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.

“I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

Hard to imagine now that Thomas was ever anything except a huge star.

For Thomas, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound former Chicago White Sox slugger known as the Big Hurt, life has come full circle — from awe-struck rookie in 1990 to baseball royalty.

Thomas was elected in January to the Hall of Fame, along with pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. Also to be inducted Sunday are managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, who were selected in December.

“This is the top 1 percent in all of baseball that gets in the Hall of Fame,” said Thomas, the first player elected to the Hall of Fame who spent more than half of his time as a designated hitter. “As a kid, the big dream is being a professional. But to make it to the Hall of Fame? Come on, you’ve got to pinch yourself. I’m very fortunate it happened for me, especially first ballot.”

Thomas won AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and finished his 19-year career with a .301 batting average, 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs.

He also won the 1997 AL batting title and helped show that in more recent times a power hitter could also be selective at the plate.

Thomas played 16 years for the White Sox and established himself as the best hitter in franchise history. He’s the only player in major league history to log seven straight seasons with a .300 average, 20 homers, 100 RBIs and 100 walks.

Heady territory for a guy who didn’t take baseball seriously until he was 12 and many thought would end up as a star tight end in the NFL because of the devastating blocks he delivered.

“Hitting was something I took very serious. The way I swung the bat at times, you’d think I was 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds,” said Thomas, who decided to focus solely on baseball as a sophomore at Auburn. “But I cared about getting hits and scoring runs. A lot of people didn’t know that about my game. Yes, I hit a lot of home runs, drove in a lot of runs, but there were many days that I was just content getting singles and getting on base and letting the other guys drive me in.”

Just as impressive: Thomas, Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, and Ted Williams, are the only players in major league history to retire with a career batting average of at least .300, 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs scored, and 1,500 walks.

The effect of the Steroids Era was front and center at last year’s induction ceremony. The 2013 class consisted of Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O’Day and catcher “Deacon” White — all three had been dead for more than 70 years — and was picked by a select 16-member committee.

It marked just the second time in 42 years that members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America failed to elect anyone. Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens — all linked to steroids — didn’t even come close in their first year of eligibility.

That was not lost on Thomas.

“I played in an era that people are going to be thinking about for a long time,” said Thomas, who was plagued by injuries in his later years. “I’m proud that I stuck to my guns and did things the right way, the proper way.”

Induction day probably will seem like a reunion of sorts for Maddux, Glavine, and Cox, who were mainstays together on the Atlanta Braves for a decade.

“To have the opportunity to go in with two guys that were a teammate and a manager for a long time, guys that were such a big part of my career but also helped make me a better player, that’s a great opportunity,” Glavine said. “Every once in a while, I’ll have some moments where it’s hard to get my brain around what’s going on.”

Maddux was elected by an overwhelming margin, receiving 97.2 percent of the votes from the BBWAA. He won 355 games, four straight Cy Young Awards and a record 18 Gold Gloves. Glavine, who was selected by nearly 92 percent of the voters, had 305 wins and two Cy Young Awards.

Both Maddux and Glavine relied on pinpoint control to get the job done, changing speed and location on their pitches to keep hitters guessing.

Maddux won Cy Youngs from 1992-95 (Randy Johnson is the only other pitcher to win four straight), completing his impressive run with two remarkable years. During the strike-shortened 1994 season, Maddux went 16-6 with a career-best 1.56 ERA — the cumulative NL ERA was 4.21 — and the next year finished 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA.

Glavine was on the mound when the Braves won Game 6 to clinch the 1995 World Series and give the city of Atlanta its lone major sports title. The lefty pitched one-hit ball over eight innings in a 1-0 victory over Cleveland.

“I competed against those guys. They knew how to pitch,” said Thomas, picked on nearly 84 percent of ballots. “They were warriors.”

Considering the size of this induction class — it equals those of 1971, 1955 and 1953 as the largest ever — and the imposing credentials of the inductees, officials are expecting a very large crowd as the Hall of Fame continues the celebration of its 75th anniversary.

Heck, they’ll need extra seats just for Torre’s entourage.

“I’m looking forward to a huge turnout,” said Thomas, who’s from Georgia. “I’m so happy and proud. To go in with the three most iconic managers of my time, it doesn’t get any better than that, to be a part of that group.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Suisun council candidates all voice business-friendly platforms

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

 
Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

 
Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

 
Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 4 Comments

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9