Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas forged a Hall of Fame career due to the hard work and dedication he put into the game he loved, so you could understand why he would take a tough stance on the steroids issue that has engulfed baseball again this week.
According to a story courtesy Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, Thomas has come out in strong opposition to players who have been linked to steroids, especially the more prominent names, saying that they don’t deserve to be mentioned with all the greats who went before them.
The former White Sox first baseman says he’s talked to Hall of Famers and they all agree that anyone linked to steroids shouldn’t be allowed in the Hall of Fame.
“They say, ‘Hell, no,'” Thomas said. “They don’t want any of these guys in. These are super-superstars in my eyes, and they’re serious about it. I would suggest you get around the Johnny Benches, the Ozzie Smiths, the Dave Winfields and Mike Schmidts. Hold court with them and see how they feel. I’ve talked to them and it was eye-opening.
“I want the game to be where it’s supposed to be. Guys have climbed that mountain for a reason, and that’s important to me. To hear the Hall of Famers talk, their legacy is important to them. I respect that. That’s why I had such feelings for Hank Aaron and those guys coming up, and I wanted to get to the level of the Hall of Fame. When guys take drugs like that, they’re not deserving of being on that level.”
Thomas, who hit 521 home runs during his career, says that huge contracts have given players the incentive to take such risks with their reputations.
“When I played, guys all said, ‘Let’s get to the Hall of Fame,'” Thomas said. “Now guys are like, ‘Let’s do five years and make $150 million, and you’re set for life. Who cares?’ I think that’s the feeling among most of the guys now. It’s shameful, what’s happened over the last seven, eight years with this whole scandal, but guys continue to try it.
“I played against Barry and Roger and I know they’re Hall of Famers, but what they did at the end of their careers is going to hurt them for life, I believe. It’s a sad thing, because I know how good those guys were. Barry could have been a 500-500 [home runs and steals] guy before he started doing this stuff. Really, was it necessary? He could have gone down as one of the greatest all-around players of all time, if not the greatest.”
“The Big Hurt” believes that the latest steroid scandal involving the Biogenesis clinic will eventually lead to players taking less risks because not only will they be endangering their reputations but also their livelihoods.
“After this, it’s going to stop,” he said. “Enough is going to be enough. They’ll get to the point where they start banning guys, and that’s when it’s going to stop.”
It’s hard to disagree with Thomas’ assertion, the superstars associated with the steroids era gave up their right to make the HoF when they chose to pursue money over integrity.