I distinctly remember spending time with my friend and neighbor Jason around the age of 12, and talking about Frank Thomas just before he was brought up from the minor leagues. From that moment forward, watching Frank Thomas was something I continually looked forward to. I guess, from a personal standpoint, it was fun to see a guy who was built to play football, have such a great eye at the plate and hit for average before he hit for power. Most people focus on the 500 homeruns. What is forgotten is his lifetime .303 batting average. And the nearly 1600 walks. His career OPS is 11th on the all time list, just ahead of Mark McGwire, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial.
I don't want to go nuts and tell you how he's a hall of famer. (He is). But people tend to forget just what a dominant hitter he was from the moment he joined the major leagues. In his first full season, he was 3rd in MVP voting. He had back to back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994. He has been in the top 10 in the MVP voting 9 times. Nine times? Nine times. Plus, he never hit more than 43 homeruns in a single season. The 500 homeruns have been based on a lot of dominant, consistent years.
Stevenson Stormy puts it best - "Since the steroid scandals, both Frank Thomas and Griffey's legacies have been embraced by the MLB community since they were the two most outspoken advocates for testing for years. They are the only players to get to 500 in the past decade that are not tarnished by roids."
Wow. I really didn't intend to have my own personal Frank Thomas love fest. But it happened. I'm just very happy for him. Since he's my childhood sports hero and all. Frank - congratulations. You deserve all of the praise you're getting. The road ovation in Minnesota was extra sweet.
Since I'm in a sports mood.... Some thoughts on the NBA draft:
- I'm not a huge NBA fan. But I've been excited about this draft. I actually kind of planned my afternoon around it.
- I love when really tall women (let's say 6 foot and above) wear 2 and 3 inch heels. (This has nothing to do with the draft. I just saw a really tall woman in giant heels today. I like how she embraced her height and appeared very confident.)
- Steven A. Smith screams a lot. Most of what he has to say can be done in a normal tone of voice. I'd like to see a reality TV show where he gets locked in a room with Dick Vitale.
- Yi Jianlian refused to workout for any team. Then, he and his agents told the Milwaukee Bucks not to draft him. The Chinese government seems to be pulling lots of strings here. This is quickly becoming a subplot that could easily be worked into next season of "24". Actually, now that I think about, it would probably be a better plot than last season. Oh, and what was the point of interviewing Yi after he was drafted? He obviously didn't really understand the questions, nor did he really have the language skills to respond in any coherent manner.
- I'm excited that the Bulls took Joakim Noah. In part because he wore a sear sucker suit and a huge bow tie to draft night. In part because he could have been a top 2 pick last year and he dropped to 9 this year. But mostly because he has a hot mom. (She was Miss Sweden 1978 and took 2nd in the Miss Universe contest). At this point, you probably think I have a hot mom problem. You know what? Maybe I do.
- I'll admit it. I sort of fell asleep a little during the middle of the first round. And I lost any steam I had to make a fun NBA draft journal. Read ESPN.com tomorrow. Theirs will be way better anyways.
While we're doing nothing but sports, I'd like to take a moment to congratulate my softball team for our first victory of the season. 33-3. That's not a typo. Nor did the opposition resemble Jerry's Kids in any way. We just rocked out for one evening.
-----I had a bunch of other stuff. But I'll leave it for tomorrow.
And for something completely unrelated... If "The Sopranos" was on basic cable.