Few can ever imagine what it’s like to be admitted into the storied MLB Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. For Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, they now join the ranks of baseball immortality.
Three players made it into the HOF in the class of 2014, all first year eligible players in Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas. All three easily cleared the 75% threshold, the first time since 1999 that three first-timers were elected.
Maddux and Glavine were assumed virtual locks to be voted in- and were, 97.2 and 91.9 percent respectively, while Frank Thomas, who appeared to be on the fence, garnered 83.7 percent of the vote. Managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa will also be welcomed into the HOF in Cooperstown, NY on July 27th. Cox was also lucky, or talented, enough to have Maddux and Glavine on his staff for most of their major league careers.
The telling story of this year’s class of inductees is clearly Thomas. His batting statistics, for sure are HOF worthy-19 MLB years of service, .301 lifetime average, 1704 RBI, 521 HR, but the ironic part is all these fantastic numbers were during the you-know-what-era. Much has been written and said about the “home run chase” of McGuire and Sosa, the smashing of the HR record by Bonds, and several other individual batting records set during those years.
However, the “Big Hurt” Thomas quietly went about his business with three MLB teams, Chicago White Sox predominantly, and not much was said about his involvement in the whispers surrounding other players and their “activities”.
Thomas, who spent most of his career as a designated hitter, to some extent acknowledged the opinions of voters and Hall of Famers alike.
“I’ve got to take the right stance, too. No, they shouldn’t get in,” he said. “There shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.”
“As for what they did, I don’t think any of us will ever really know. But I can just tell you, what I did was real and that’s why I’ve got this smile on my face right now because the writers, they definitely got it right.”
Thomas is tied for 18th on the all-time home runs list with Willie McCovey and Ted Williams (both in the HOF), and 22nd in the RBI category. He also received the AL MVP twice (1993 and 94), named AL All Star six times, and won the Silver Slugger Award as a designated hitter.