Slowly but surely working our way to #1. While preparing for this post, I read that Frank Thomas had two favorite players growing up: Dave Parker and Dave Winfield. That makes complete sense to me... both Parker and Winfield were man-sized ballplayers that could just as easily been playing in the NFL. If Big Frank had admired Freddie Patek or Harry Chappas, I might be a little surprised.
Undrafted out of high school Frank Thomas went to Auburn to play both football and baseball. He left the Tigers football team after his freshman year to concentrate on baseball. He was Auburn's first consensus All-America in 1989 after he hit a SEC-best .403. He was selected in the first round (seventh overall) by the White Sox in the 1989 Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft. He made his major-league debut with the Sox on August 2, 1990 at Milwaukee. Over his next 18 seasons he intimidated American League pitchers, collecting a .974 career OPS with 521 home runs and drove in 1,704 runs. He finished with an impressive 75.9 career WAR, which places him 64th in the history of the game.
A five-time American League All-Star, Thomas was just the 11th player in major-league history to win consecutive MVP awards (1993-94). He was a unanimous selection in 1993 after hitting .317 (174-549) with 36 doubles, 41 home runs and 128 RBI in 153 games when he led the White Sox to the AL Western Division championship and the team's first postseason appearance since 1983. In 1994, Thomas captured his second straight league honor by batting .353 (141-399) with 34 doubles, 38 home runs and 101 RBI over 113 games.
The White Sox retired the "Big Hurt's" uniform #35 in 2010. He is a member of the White Sox Team of the Century and the club's franchise leader in numerous offensive categories, including home runs (448), doubles (447), RBI (1,465), runs scored (1,327), extra-base hits (906), walks (1,466), total bases (3,949), slugging percentage (.568) and on-base percentage (.427).