1990 Leaf Frank Thomas
One of the worst things about the backlog of players waiting to get into the Hall of Fame is players like Frank Thomas. Throughout his nineteen year career "The Big Hurt" was one of the best and most prolific hitters in the game. Unfortunately Thomas was a pretty big guy and I am sure that there are a decent amount of sports writers who are willing to let Thomas sit on the sidelines of Cooperstown along with a lot of other deserving players. Thomas had a big impact on the baseball card world too starting with his rookie cards released in 1990. He was instantly a fan favorite and his cards became extremely popular and stayed that way for the better part of two decades.
Pick a Thomas rookie card and you've got a classic early 90s baseball card. One of my favorites is at the end of the post as one of my favorite cards. Thomas had a great run of cards and was featured on some truly unique and groundbreaking cards. One of the great white whales of my collection, this would be a white whale I have not caught, is a 1997 Leaf Frank Thomas Collection Relic card. While many people are familiar with the 1997 Upper Deck jersey cards of Griffey, Gwynn, and Rey Ordonez the Thomas card offers far better value and scarcity for collectors searching out a truly unique item to add to their collection. They are quite pricey. Quite.
Maybe someday. Until then there are plenty of other great Frank Thomas cards to track down. He's got a lot of great autographs and more affordable relic cards out on the secondary market. Thomas has been a consistent signer throughout his career and has a great looking autograph. One of my favorite autographs. In all of my years collecting cards I have only pulled one Frank Thomas and have never traded it or sold it. It's one of my favorite autographs, even if it's on a sticker.
2003 Playoff Piece of the Game Frank Thomas Jersey/Autograph
I have had a few other Frank Thomas autographs along the way, but if I had to pick one up tomorrow I would definitely make sure that he was a White Sox on the card. I know that Thomas played his last few years with the Blue Jays and A's, but in my mind he's always a White Sox player.
On The Field-
Thomas should be a Hall of Famer and he's one of the most likely to be passed over because of "suspicions". Completely ridiculous. Before being drafted by the White Sox he starred at Auburn as a tight end. Check out a few Thomas rookie cards and its clear that Thomas was always a really big guy. Have there been any allegations of him using anything? No. I will be upset if he's not quickly in the Hall of Fame. If he did not make on his first year I would understand, but much past that is not cool.
Thomas had almost 2,500 hits in his career with more than 500 home runs. Add in a .300 batting average and a on-base percentage of .400 and you've got a really special player. While Thomas was primarily a DH during his career, JAWS rates The Big Hurt as the ninth best first baseman in the history of the game.
The players rated ahead of Thomas are all Hall of Famers except Jeff Bagwell and Albert Pujols. You'd assume that those two will end up in the Hall, so Thomas should be there too. Thomas also rates ahead of players like Eddie Murray, Willie McCovey, and George Sisler. If you look at first baseman by OPS+ Thomas jumps up to eighth in the rankings ahead of several Hall of Famers including Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.
If you never had a chance to watch Thomas play in person he was a lot of fun to watch. Big guy with a really powerful swing.
I have gone this entire time without picking and posting two rookie cards in my countdown. Well, I cannot pass by the 1990 Topps Frank Thomas. Iconic card.
1990 Topps Frank Thomas