Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

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March 6, 2014

Thomas predicts big induction turnout

'Big Hurt' gets Hall of Fame tour

(Continued)

In the archives, Thomas put on some gloves and held one of Babe Ruth’s bats.

“My bat was almost as big as Babe Ruth’s,” he said. “He used a 33 1/2 or a 34 1/2 and that is pretty close to what I used.”

Thomas said that he was most interested in seeing artifacts from Ruth and his childhood hero, Hank Aaron. “Because those were the two guys I idolized,” he said. “I was really excited to see the displays from those two guys. That meant a lot to me.”

Thomas said he looks forward to spending more time with Aaron during Induction Weekend.

“And Frank Robinson too, I imagine,” Strohl said.

“Frank Robinson, I get to talk to him all the time,” Thomas said. “Talking to Hank Aaron is still a big deal for me.”

Thomas, who is a pre- and post-game analyst for Fox Sports One, hit 521 home runs among his 2,468 hits. He also had 1,704 RBIs and finished with a career batting average of .301. He played from 1990 to 2008, mostly with the White Sox but also with Toronto and Oakland. He was a five-time All-Star, two-time American League MVP, won four Silver Slugger awards and the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. He was on the White Sox team that won the 2005 World Series but was injured and did not play.

He went to Oakland in 2006 after being told by some doctors and scouts that his career was over.

“Really, I should have won the comeback player of the year in 2006, too,” said Thomas, who hit 39 home runs and drove in 114 runs that season. “2006 was the biggest comeback ever. I was released by the Chicago White Sox and told my career was over.”

When he returned to Chicago in 2006 with the A’s and the fans gave him a standing ovation, “I had to hold back tears,” he said.

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