Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Frank Thomas calls out Sammy Sosa, Skip Bayless in interview

Chicago, Now & Then!

jm

Newly elected Hall of Famer Frank Thomas joined Jim Rome for an interview that will air in this month’s Jim Rome on Showtime beginning Wednesday night. In it, Thomas touched on multiple aspects of steroids use in baseball, including both his own doubts about the integrity of some of his colleagues and his distaste for media members questioning whether he used.

“I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs,” Thomas said.”Sammy Sosa was my teammate for three years coming up. So watching his career and watching him grow, for three years he was capable of only 20-25, 27 home runs at the most… there’s no way Sammy doubled me up. With Mark McGwire, you really had to take a look at it because Mark McGwire had 48 home runs as a rookie.”

...Later in the interview with Rome, Thomas added that he sometimes faces the same suspicion that plagues players of his era.

“I hate to bring up names,” Thomas said, “but Skip Bayless even said the other week, ‘How did I walk through the door without any suspicion?’ And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:41 PM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, media

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4639717)
Roger Maris, PED user.
   2. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4639718)
It's been more than a decade that PEDs has dominated talk about baseball. Whatever your stance on the issue, it has to have become tiresome.
   3. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4639721)
Thomas is going to be like Gossage. Cranky. Pissy. Annoying to listen to.
   4. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4639723)
oh no...is he going to turn into Bob Feller? I always liked Thomas.
   5. Bob Tufts Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4639724)
will we ever know the sordid truth behind UL Washington's 10 HR season in 1982?
   6. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4639731)
If only Frank Thomas had ripped Jim Rome's head off. He would be the greatest person ever.

But no. Just as bad, he's allowed Skip Bayless to continue living.
   7. Jim Wisinski Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4639734)
Roger Maris, PED user.


The anecdotal evidence for Maris being on steroids is far stronger than it is for Piazza or Bagwell.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4639736)
I'll never understand the appeal of Jim Rome. Is it the smug look or the 5 second pause between every word? Jim Everett should have finished the job.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4639738)
will we ever know the sordid truth behind UL Washington's 10 HR season in 1982?


Toothpicks illegally enhance performance.
   10. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4639743)
I'll never understand the appeal of Jim Rome. Is it the smug look or the 5 second pause between every word? Jim Everett should have finished the job.


Remarkably enough, he's at least as bad on the radio.
   11. GregD Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4639744)
Surely we can all agree though that any trashing Frank Thomas wants to do of Skip Bayless makes up for any number of other sins?
   12. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4639748)
Sosa hit more than 27 HRs(actually 33+) every season from ages 24-35 with the exception of the strike shortened season where he was on pace for 39. Kindly shut the #### up Frank.
   13. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4639749)
Surely we can all agree though that any trashing Frank Thomas wants to do of Skip Bayless makes up for any number of other sins?

Truly. The man was a troll before we had a word for it. He's a pioneer!
   14. ThickieDon Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4639754)
Frank Thomas, Derek Jeter, and Jack Morris abused steroids.
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:45 PM (#4639758)
“I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs,” Thomas said.”Sammy Sosa was my teammate for three years coming up. So watching his career and watching him grow, for three years he was capable of only 20-25, 27 home runs at the most… there’s no way Sammy doubled me up.


That's what this boils down to for Thomas. Other players hit more home runs than him, and he's bitter about it. This is the justification given for Bonds starting to use, so why wouldn't it apply to Thomas?

At this point I would pretty much be shocked if Thomas didn't use. It seems like he's been obsessed with all the home runs others were hitting for quite some time now. That's been a rather eye opening part of his recent comments, to me. He didn't give this level of detail before, to my knowledge. Now the more he talks the more we learn that it was all about home runs for him the entire time.

“I hate to bring up names,” Thomas said, “but Skip Bayless even said the other week, ‘How did I walk through the door without any suspicion?’ And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”


So "a conversation" will suffice for Thomas to prove his innocence? Why hasn't Thomas applied that same low standard of evidence to others?
   16. ThickieDon Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4639759)
Amazing image, btw Repoz.
   17. ThickieDon Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4639763)
Bonds's head grew so his home runs are invalid.

There's nothing low about that standard.
   18. I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4639769)
Amazing image, btw Repoz.


And yet somehow an actual image of Mark E. Smith would be much more horrifying.
   19. spike Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4639771)
So McGwire not hitting 96 in a season means he was really clean the whole time or that PEDs don't work?
   20. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4639778)
I wonder how Frank would feel about a guy who starting with age 28 put up these numbers in AB/HR

28: 13.2
29: 15.1
30: 20.2
31: 32.4

And then miraculously, at age 32 manages to reverse a clear decline in power and hit 1 HR for every 13.5 ABs.
   21. Bob Tufts Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4639779)
But...but.. Frank's head size.....http://www.416sports.ca/2012/01/will-frank-thomas-ever-find-hat-that.html
   22. AROM Posted: January 15, 2014 at 04:59 PM (#4639780)
“I hate to bring up names,” Thomas said, “but Skip Bayless even said the other week, ‘How did I walk through the door without any suspicion?’ And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”

Take a look at Bayless. I have a lot more suspicion of him using steroids than I do of Frank Thomas.
   23. gehrig97 Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4639786)
@20: Well, to be fair, he was injured...

I'm not sure what Thomas has to gain with his constant kvetching... I could understand his motivation in the run-up to the HOF vote, but why now? You're in, Big Hurt. You're in. While we'll never know for sure, there could be something to Ray's theory: It galls Thomas that inferior players (in his eyes) put up bigger HR numbers. Never mind that Thomas is probably a top-25 hitter of all-time... it was, is and ever shall be about the long ball.



   24. Moeball Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4639788)
So McGwire not hitting 96 in a season means he was really clean the whole time or that PEDs don't work?


Actually, something I've always wondered about was how none of the truly big name sluggers ever wound up with the Rockies in the '90s. Transplant McGwire or Sosa or Bonds to Coors field pre-humidor and wouldn't 96 be possible? Of course, the Home/Road splits would probably be bizarre, like 70 HRs at home and only 26 on the road or something like that...
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4639796)
And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”

Please do it in a back alley. Please, please, please.

I'm not sure what Thomas has to gain with his constant kvetching... I could understand his motivation in the run-up to the HOF vote, but why now?

Nothing. Which is why the more he says it, the more credible it is.

   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4639798)
@20: Well, to be fair, he was injured...


Which is the specific reason cited by McGwire as to why he started using in the 90s. (IIRC he said he had "experimented" in the 80s but didn't start using flat out until the 90s.)

I'm not sure what Thomas has to gain with his constant kvetching...


He's apparently not satisfied with making it in by screaming that so many players around him were cheating all these years. He has to make sure the door is slammed shut behind him for players he deems were cheaters (basically, as far as I can tell, most everyone who hit more home runs than him either in a season or a career).

And let there be no mistake: he DID make it in by screaming that everyone else was cheating. If he had stayed silent and made no comments about this, he would have the same innuendo and suspicion attached to him that he's now attaching to Sosa et al. Could there be a more classic candidate for steroids use? A mountain of a man child who graduated from Auburn's football program in the 80s and went on to hit 500 major league home runs, and who had something of a a mid-career resurgence, fighting off injury and decline to rebound to two 40+ HR seasons and one of 39.
   27. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4639801)

Nothing. Which is why the more he says it, the more credible it is.


Nothing except "I'm the clean one. Believe in me. My 500 home runs are legit. Don't let those other sluggers from my era in."
   28. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4639804)
[23] He played nearly every game up until the beginning of September then was done for the year. I didn't recall him nagging issues that season, I seem to recall people hand-waving away the struggles(insomuch one can struggle with an OPS approaching .900) to his divorce.

Was there an injury he was fighting through all season? This was the famous white flag trade season, so I can't imagine they'd have been pressing for him to stay in the lineup all August if he was hurting.
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4639808)

I was a big Thomas fan and defended him a few days ago, but he is making himself look worse and worse with each interview.
   30. Bob Tufts Posted: January 15, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4639811)
"Doubting Thomas....the collected works of Ray, 2013-2014". On sale soon.
   31. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4639830)
These guys were obvious juicers. Hell, they hit more than three times the HRs as any other team in the league!

And they all played for...Chicago.

I rest my case.
   32. Bunny Vincennes Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4639838)
If I'm Sammy Sosa I'd be lounging in the warm breeze with an umbrella drink laughing at the tv that Frank Thomas still has his knickers in a twist about ancient history. Jeez Frank, you are in the Hall of Fame. Quit ######## about the valet parking you had to endure at the Cell already. Does Thomas enjoy anything?
   33. Lars6788 Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:28 PM (#4639843)

If I'm Sammy Sosa I'd be lounging in the warm breeze with an umbrella drink laughing at the tv that Frank Thomas still has his knickers in a twist about ancient history. Jeez Frank, you are in the Hall of Fame. Quit ######## about the valet parking you had to endure at the Cell already. Does Thomas enjoy anything?


A beautiful wife, his family, his own beer brand - Thomas has a lot to enjoy.

From my recollection of Thomas was always portrayed as a guy who was 'selfish' about his stats - I think that rings true even now, though I wouldn't hold it against him.
   34. Swedish Chef Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:33 PM (#4639853)
his own beer brand

Is it a bitter?
   35. vivaelpujols Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:49 PM (#4639881)
#### Frank Thomas
   36. gehrig97 Posted: January 15, 2014 at 07:09 PM (#4639918)
@34: perfect
   37. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4639952)
Is it a bitter?

And organic I hope!
   38. madvillain Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:27 PM (#4639959)
I wonder if Ray would be mad if there was a magic pill that could make you win 20% more motions (or some other relevant law ####) and the naturally brilliant Ray was bypassed on his way to firm MVP 5 years out of 7 because everyone else in the firm was on the pill -- would he be bitter when he got passed over for partner?

Also, Frank is now the GO TO GUY for quotes about how awful the "steroid era" was, he's not out there on a book tour or some #### preaching the anti-PED gospel to whoever will listen -- rather he's getting asked and prodded to talk about it again and again from the media. He's feeling his oats for sure, but whatever.
   39. Bob Tufts Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4639995)
I wonder if Ray would be mad if there was a magic pill that could make you win 20% more motions


It is already happening - http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/modafinil-2013-4/
   40. djrelays Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4640004)
Re #39: Old news. Modafinil was one of the drugs linking the BALCO sprinters, beginning with the disqualification of 2003 World Championships 100m/200m winner Kelli White.
   41. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4640011)
Did Frank have any suspicions about the 43-year-old Fisk? Did he think it odd that 35-year-old Julio Franco cranked out 20 in just 500 PA in 1994? What about when that little pipsqueak Durham started hitting 20? What about Albert Belle? How about Maggs going from 14 HR to 30 at 25? C'mon media, if the man's willing to toss teammates under the bus, at least ask him about other teammates.

Did he consider that when Sosa was his teammate, he was a kid who'd been rushed to the majors when he clearly wasn't ready?

Did he think it odd when he hit just 24 HR in 1992 at age 24 then hit 41 in 1993? Is that more or less suspicious than Sosa hitting 18 HR in 629 PA from 22-23 then hitting 33 in 1993 at age 24?

Did Frank question himself when he hit 38 in nearly 25% fewer PA in 1994 (strike)? Sosa at least had the good taste to hit HR at about the same rate in 94.

Did Frank find it odd that he set his career high HR%s (by rather a lot) at the ages of 37-38 while Sosa had pretty much washed out of the league by then? Frank's age 37 AB/HR of 8.8 is better than any in Sosa's career (although Sosa has many that are close).

From 22-24, Thomas hit HRs 3.8% of the time; from 25-27 he increased that by 75% to 6.5%. From 21-23, Sosa hit HRs 2.7% of the time; from 24-26, he increased that by 100% to 5.4%.

Has Frank considered the impact that his plate discipline may have had on his HR totals? During his crazy peak, Frank walked about 19% of the time; in 1998, Sosa walked about 10% of the time. For his career, Frank had 15.7 AB/HR; Sosa had 14.5 but Sammy had 600 more AB for his career. Sosa of course was also a free swinger putting everything he had into every swing and paying the price with Ks; Frank was not a free swinger.

I don't know how many people he wants to accuse but has Frank considered he might not have had as much power as he thinks. Seems bizarre I know but he had an extremely low GB/FB ratio (.48 career) and he made a lot of contact. But he hit HR on only 12.9% of his FB -- Chipper Jones hit HRs on 11.9% of his. Reggie Sanders -- Reggie Sanders -- hit them on 13% of his FB. Ortiz is at 13.4, 14.6 since he got to Boston. McGriff was 14.1%. Prince is at 14.5%. Griffey was at 14.6%. Chris Davis is at 15.9% for his career, over 22% last year. Thome was at 19.4% for his career. Frank seems to have hit a lot to the warning track or just off the wall.

Thomas was a great all-around hitter in his prime -- not many Ks, lots of BBs, lots of LD, few GB. He hit off the front foot, known for not generating tons of power. He didn't swing wildly. As a hitter he was more Gary Sheffield (13% HR/FB) or a more powerful Brett than he ever was McGwire or Thome. If he wanted to make a run at 50-60, he needed a different style. I assume he couldn't really do it while maintaining his other numbers, but give him Griffey's HR/FB rate and he adds about 70 HR, makes a run at 600. Give him Thome's rate and he hits about 800.

On AB/HR, Frank was 15.7. So was McCovey. Schmidt was at 15.2. Schmidt was a skinny wiry guy. For the prime of his career, Mays was 14.6. For his prime, Banks was 14.8. In his power prime, even Sandberg had a better HR/FB than Frank. Vs. Sosa, some interesting things on HR/FB (Thomas then Sosa)

22: 9.1 11.4
23: 12.4 8.4
24: 8.5 13.9
25: 14.7 15.7

So from 22-25, Thomas had an HR/FB of 11.6 vs. Sosa's 13.1. Sosa's helped no doubt by the move to Wrigley. But by this measure, Sammy was hitting with more power than Thomas when he was a scrawny kid. Sosa was hitting a lot more groundballs and striking out a lot more often of course.

From 26-28, Frank's HR/FB was 17.1 vs. Sosa 19.3 which doesn't seem out of line given the age 22-25 difference and the typical aging curve of adding power around 27.

To put those a bit in perspective, from 22-25, Griffey had a 15.7 HR/FB; from 26-28 it was an even 20%. I don't think I'd have ever called him scrawny but he was a long way from Prince.

And then ... well, then Thomas had only one season (at 37) that surpassed his age 28 HR/FB. I'm guessing that's unusual for a power hitter. He was particularly bad at 30, 31 and 34 (returning from injury). Sosa went the other extreme (23%) and started smashing them like Jim Thome which I'm guessing is also unusual. Griffey from 29-36 was hurt a lot but maintained a 15.5% HR/FB compared to Thomas 12.1% ... so both returned to their age 22-25 levels basically.

Unfortunately, HR/FB is not available for our "clean" heroes of the past. Obviously what Sosa did is unusual for any age/era so there's no point trying to show it's typical in any way. It may have been unprecedented outside of Mac and Bonds. We do know that Aaron's AB/HR from 23-30 was 16.1 and from 31-38 was 14.3 while Sosa's went from 13.9 to 12.9 although that includes his two dismal final seasons. Stargell went from 18.6 to 15 (cherry-picked since he's a famous 30s breakthrough).

I've only just realized that AB/HR is on the leaderboards. Sosa sits 8th all-time, right in-between Killer and Dunn. Thomas is 27th all-time in-between McCovey and Sexson -- oddly enough, we raised Sexson as a potential comp for Thomas if he wasn't also a 300 hitter (in the scouting reports thread where Thomas was rated just a 40-50 on batting average).

HR/AB is a funny thing. Ortiz and Napoli are both ahead of Giambi. Teixeira is ahead of both Miguel Cabrera and Frank Robinson. Matt Williams was considered a major power hitter of his time but he's only tied with Jay Bruce with a pedestrian 18.52 ... just barely ahead of Roger Maris. What if Bruce makes a run at 60 some year? Russell Branyan has the same AB/HR as Mickey Manttle -- gimme some roids!!

Possibly Frank was the Bonds of Walt Hriniak hitters. But the main reason some of those guys out-homered him is because they were trying to and adopted a batting style that would produce HR at the expense (mainly) of BA and BB.
   42. Booey Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4640017)
Thomas was one of my two favorite players of the 90's (along with Piazza), so it's hard for me to criticize him too harshly. His constant reminders of how clean he was to anyone who would listen got kinda annoying, but it was brilliant too; without it he easily could've been lumped into the "big guy who hit lots of homers, must've been a roider" camp with Piazza and Bagwell. Maybe those guys should do a little more campaigning for themselves? (does Bagwell EVER talk? I hardly read anything about him anymore)

That said, Frank needs to stop talking now. Getting into the HOF should've been enough. Trying to keep everyone else out just seems petty and spiteful.
   43. Morty Causa Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4640019)
It doesn't have to be a race to the bottom, people.
   44. zonk Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:37 PM (#4640050)
Hmm...I don't agree with his Bart-killing policy, but I do approve of his Selma-killing policy.
   45. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:07 AM (#4640061)
He ripped Skip Bayless. Can't we just agree that's always a good thing?
   46. ThickieDon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:49 AM (#4640075)
I would gladly read 50 thoughtful Ray or Walt Davis posts rather than the typical, brain-dead anti-"PED" nonsense that poses for journalism / critical thought in the baseball world.

How would Ray feel if there was magic pill that made you 20% better??

Probably the same as a baseball player would feel whenever they invent something like that LOL
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 16, 2014 at 12:55 AM (#4640078)
Frank is the new Goose, just like the old Goose:

Like Jeter, Posada it was difficult to watch his former teammate become the most infamous man in the sport.

“It’s tough to see a friend go through that,” said Posada, who has been unable to make contact with Rodriguez. “The game of baseball is tough at times. He’s got my support… It’s tough to watch. You just hope he can move on.”

Not surprisingly, Goose Gossage had strong feelings about Rodriguez.

“I think A-Rod got what he deserved,” the Hasll of Fame closer said. “You hate to see it happen to him, but I think the punishment fit the crime.”

http://nypost.com/2014/01/15/jeter-saddened-by-messy-a-rod-ordeal-with-yankees/

   48. bjhanke Posted: January 16, 2014 at 06:05 AM (#4640113)
I don't remember the exact timing, and BB-Ref and my browser are not willing to cooperate with each other, but there was a HUGE ballpark switch for Sammy when he went from Old Comiskey, which was Death Valley, to Wrigley, which was, well, Wrigley. New Comiskey is a better homer park than Old Comiskey was, but I don't remember when it was first used or what happened to Frank's (or Sammy's, if he was still there) homer numbers. I have, however, always cut Sammy a steroid break because he did move from a terrible homer park to an easy one, and only then started hitting huge numbers of taters (Frank's comment about "doubling" may well be mostly explained by the ballpark shift, and Frank's homer totals are indeed lower than they would have been in a neutral park). Of course, the same thing applies to McGwire. Oakland was one of the worst homer parks in baseball, while Busch Stadium had had its fences pulled in and was, essentially, neutral for homers in 1998. Thomas does have a point about Mac and the rookie homer record. Mac set it in Oakland, a park which suppresses homers. This is rare. Most records are set in ballparks that favor the stat in question (like I need to tell this audience something that obvious). Also, Jose Canseco specifically excluded that 1987 season (page 7 of Canseco's book) from Mac doing any steroids that year, so you do have an "anchor" year, where you know that what Mac did was clean. If you run just about any career predictor from 1987 to 1998, and then make adjustments for the offensive environment change from 1987 (a good hitters' year compared to 1986 and 1988, but that's history by 1998) and the park effects, you will not get 96 homers predicted, but you will get over 70. I know. I tried it, using Bill James' old BROCK2 system from the 1980s. If McGwire had been playing in Coors Field in 1998, he might very well have hit 80, and maybe even more. As things stand, there is no doubt that Mac did steroids - he's admitted it - but there is VERY good cause for doubt that they did anything for him except maybe help him get back in the lineup after his big injury in the mid-1990s. Those 70 homers in 1998 are just about what you'd expect Mac to hit at his age, in 1998, in a neutral park. They are fully accounted for without any steroid boost. The fact that Mac did NOT hit more than 70 is actually an argument that steroids don't amp up homers by any significant factor.

And no, I have no idea why Frank Thomas has gotten jealous and cranky in his retirement. Everyone knows that he was a truly great hitter and fully belongs in the Hall of Fame. - Brock Hanke
   49. ThickieDon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:22 AM (#4640118)
It's bizarre. Without home runs (though he did hit a ton!), the guy's line is impeccable. Can't see why he's going on and on about home runs. Maybe everyone else should be complaining about his LD%. Roids in theory would probably help more with that.

When he did see a MASSIVE increase in HR/FB toward the end of his career, was it roids? No, it appeared he modified his hitting style.

But anyway, even though it had no effect on his ability, Frank Thomas is a huge steroid abuser.
   50. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4640133)
I was a big Thomas fan and defended him a few days ago, but he is making himself look worse and worse with each interview.


QFT. Just shut up about PEDs Frank, please. Sigh.
   51. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4640148)
That said, Frank needs to stop talking now. Getting into the HOF should've been enough. Trying to keep everyone else out just seems petty and spiteful.

Concern troll is concerned.

QFT. Just shut up about PEDs Frank, please. Sigh.

How dare you invade our little echo chamber!!
   52. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4640157)
Did he think it odd that 35-year-old Julio Franco cranked out 20 in just 500 PA in 1994?


And then the man played 14 more seasons!!

I remember an early Sports Illustrated interview in which Frank Thomas was open about being motivated by the numbers on the back of his baseball card. Among right-handed hitters (and non-deadballers), Frank's OPS+ is lower than only Hornsby (175), Pujols (165), Foxx and McGwire(163), Greenberg (158). He's tied with Dick Allen and Willie Mays at 156, and Thomas has more plate appearances than any of these players except Mays. He was a true hitting machine from his first step into Chicago.
   53. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4640163)
I guess I'm a little confused as to the shock that Frank has been an obnoxious blabbermouth on this. Frank always had an amazing ability to stick his foot in his mouth at just the wrong time. He did that throughout his career in Chicago. Never anything that was noteworthy years later, mind you, but if I had a dime for every time my dad said, "Boy, that guy just doesn't get it," 15-20 years ago, I'd have a s#*t load of dimes.

This is all very in-character for Frank.
   54. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4640683)
[23] He played nearly every game up until the beginning of September then was done for the year. I didn't recall him nagging issues that season, I seem to recall people hand-waving away the struggles(insomuch one can struggle with an OPS approaching .900) to his divorce.

Was there an injury he was fighting through all season? This was the famous white flag trade season, so I can't imagine they'd have been pressing for him to stay in the lineup all August if he was hurting.


He had a massive bone spur and ankle scarring that he fought most of the season. Eventually he underwent surgery in September to repair. So yeah, he was injured.

http://lubbockonline.com/stories/090999/pro_0909990039.shtml

Besides 1999 (when he was hurt), Frank's ISO stayed within a certain range for the majority of his career. The year-to-year fluctuations were huge, but those fluctuations occurred throughout his career.

1990 (Age 22): .199
1991: .234
1992: .213
1993: .290
1994: .376
1995: .298
1996: .277
1997: .264
1998: .215
1999: .167
2000: .297
2001 (only 79 PAs): .221
2002: .220
2003: .295
2004: .292
2005 (only 124 PAs): 371
2006: .275
2007: .203
2008: .134

So, he basically had two main outliers for seasons with a normal amount of plate appearances, 2005 and 1999. Everything else was within .203 and .298.

Hard to see where there's an obvious performance spike that suggests PEDs. Unlike Sosa, who saw his ISO range from .131.-.291 (only one season above .250) from ages 21-28 and then spike between .306-.409 for ages 29-33 (three seasons above .330). Doesn't mean Sosa used, but there is a major shift in performance post-prime that Thomas simply didn't exhibit.
   55. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4640685)
And let there be no mistake: he DID make it in by screaming that everyone else was cheating.


Ridiculous ####### statement. He got in by putting up an OPS of .974 over 2300+ games without any major late career sudden improvements in his skill.
   56. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4640687)
I don't remember the exact timing, and BB-Ref and my browser are not willing to cooperate with each other, but there was a HUGE ballpark switch for Sammy when he went from Old Comiskey, which was Death Valley, to Wrigley, which was, well, Wrigley.


Sosa moved to Wrigley when he was 23. He didn't became an MVP candidate until he was 29. The ball park switch was not the cause of his improvement.
   57. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4640692)
I guess I'm a little confused as to the shock that Frank has been an obnoxious blabbermouth on this. Frank always had an amazing ability to stick his foot in his mouth at just the wrong time. He did that throughout his career in Chicago. Never anything that was noteworthy years later, mind you, but if I had a dime for every time my dad said, "Boy, that guy just doesn't get it," 15-20 years ago, I'd have a s#*t load of dimes.

This is all very in-character for Frank.


As a huge Frank fan, I couldn't agree more. He should really never talk because he always sounds like a jerk. Funny thing is though his reputation is not that at all. He's a good guy who, unfortunately, is defensive about anything that seems to slight him.

He didn't use PEDs though. Of that I am certain.
   58. ThickieDon Posted: January 16, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4640697)
I'm certain he abused steroids.

And just like anyone else who did, they had no effect on his hitting.
   59. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:20 PM (#4640734)
Grover, that link said nothing about him suffering from a bone spur all season. It was obvious he was injured when he stopped playing games in the beginning of September.

Something tells me if you weren't a huge Frank fan you'd see an issue with:

1994: .376
1995: .298
1996: .277
1997: .264
1998: .215

Or at least frame it in the context you did with Sosa (I'm not saying that means he used, but...)

Sosa's HR rate increased because he stopped swinging at everything.

He had a career .308 OBP through the '97 season.
From the '98 season until the end of his career, Sosa had a .372 OBP.

"Well of course that happened, he took steroids and immediately became a HR hitting machine(because this is what happens), and after he started doing that, pitchers pitched around him."

Well let's look at that '98 season where he made the leap from a career best 52 HR pace in '96 to a career high 66 in '98.

Sosa's IsoD peaked at .082 that year on May 21st, 46 games into the season. At this point, Sosa had 8 HRs. A 28 HR pace.

Following this, Sosa's patience and willingness to not chase balls 2 feet off the plate forced pitchers to finally throw him strikes to attempt to get him out. From there he'd go on a historic run hitting 25 HRs over 34 games until his IsoD bottomed out at .058 (Sosa drew all of 7 walks during this timeframe, not because he'd gone back to hacking, but those 2-2 pitches in the dirt were now being taken, and the 3-2 pitches were being put on Waveland His K rate stayed fairly static from the beginning subset.)
   60. SouthSideRyan Posted: January 16, 2014 at 10:23 PM (#4640736)
[55]If that's all it takes, rather than bloviating about how clean you are; Jeff Bagwell, who could actually play the field without embarrassing himself, would be in the hall of fame.
   61. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:31 PM (#4640763)
[55]If that's all it takes, rather than bloviating about how clean you are; Jeff Bagwell, who could actually play the field without embarrassing himself, would be in the hall of fame.


Except Bagwell didn't put up a 0.974 OPS, he put up a 0.948 OPS. He also didn't do it for 2300 games he did for 2150, resulting in him missing out on major career milestones that Frank hit such as 500 HRs and a 0.300 average. Bagwell was also much lower throughout his career in MVP voting, finishing in the top 5 just three times and ending with must 2.89 career MVP shares. Thomas finished in the top 5 six times and ended with 4.79 career MVP shares. While many on this forum might not consider these numbers important, I guarantee you those voting for the HOF do. It is my opinion that those numbers are what got Frank into the HOF, as his years in Toronto and Oakland allowed him to rack up a couple milestones that are key to voters. In other words, I am positive that Frank would not have been first ballot HOF had his career ended in 2005 as Bagwell's did.

With that said, I think Bagwell was the better player at his best. As you mentioned, he could actually field the position and was a very good baserunner. Thomas was a horrible first baseman and a poor base runner even though his speed was adequate. They both could hit and Frank was more dangerous for longer, but Bagwell was probably the better player, at least during their very best years.
   62. SuperGrover Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4640767)
Grover, that link said nothing about him suffering from a bone spur all season. It was obvious he was injured when he stopped playing games in the beginning of September.


Bone spurs are not caused immediately. They are the result of long term stress. He was most certainly fighting that injury for the majority of the season.

I have personal anecdotal evidence to backup this claim. I was working in Reston, VA at the time and had my Dad fly into see the Orioles-Sox series Aug 20-22 of that year. Friday's game was rained out, meaning a day-night double header on Saturday. As always, we went to the game early to watch batting practice. The vivid memory I have from watching the early batting practice was the Frank hit only one home run during the entire work out. One and it barely cleared the center field fence. Now, I had seen Frank take batting practice at least two dozen times prior to that (I lived in KC at the time and went to every Sox game there) and I had never seen him be anything less than spectacular in the power and distance. That workout in Baltimore was without question an anomaly and to me indicated something was seriously wrong.

I should note that his batting practice in 1998 showed no such ill effects.

Something tells me if you weren't a huge Frank fan you'd see an issue with:

1994: .376
1995: .298
1996: .277
1997: .264
1998: .215

Or at least frame it in the context you did with Sosa (I'm not saying that means he used, but...)


Not sure why that would cause me concern other than your selection bias. If you include his Age 23-25 years you get a nice continuum that shows that 1994 was the clear outlier. Doesn't seem at all outlandish to normal career progression and a single career year.

Sosa's HR rate increased because he stopped swinging at everything.


I am not claiming Sosa was using. There is certainly little evidence to suggest as much. However, I do claim that Sosa at least exhibits a late career surge in power that Thomas never did. In fact, I will go as far as to state there is nothing in Thomas' stat line that hints at PEDs. That most certainly doesn't suggest Sosa did though.

But hey, he complained so he must be using. That's as silly as me saying that Sosa obviously used because of his sudden power spike at 29.
   63. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:09 AM (#4640777)
And no, I have no idea why Frank Thomas has gotten jealous and cranky in his retirement.


Frank was always defensive and cranky. Among other things, he publicly complained about the following:

1. Playing DH instead of 1B.
2. Swapping visitor/home batting practice at the Cell because it messed up pregame routine (seriously...he claimed he wouldn't be as good if he took batting practice 30 minutes later at home, never mind the fact he took it 30 minutes later on the road).
3. Umpires not respecting him.
4. Pitchers throwing at him
5. Having to play 1B instead of DH (yes, he completely reversed his stance later in his career).
6. Having to run the conditioning drill.
7. His contract (on multiple occasions).

In addition, he had public tiffs with Ozzie Guillen, Robin Ventura, Jerry Manuel, and David Wells (although he was on the right side of that one). Frank was always willing to say something incredibly stupid when a microphone was put in front of his face. That hasn't changed since he retired or since he's become part of the media.
   64. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:14 AM (#4640779)
Frank's age 37 AB/HR of 8.8 is better than any in Sosa's career (although Sosa has many that are close).


Come on. He had 124 ABs. Obvious sample size issues here. I guarantee you that 8.8. AB / HR is not Frank's best 124 AB stretch.
   65. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4640781)
Thomas was a great all-around hitter in his prime -- not many Ks, lots of BBs, lots of LD, few GB. He hit off the front foot, known for not generating tons of power. He didn't swing wildly. As a hitter he was more Gary Sheffield (13% HR/FB) or a more powerful Brett than he ever was McGwire or Thome. If he wanted to make a run at 50-60, he needed a different style.


Agree 100% with that. What made Frank great wasn't his power but that he was an incredible line drive hitter who had enough power to hit the ball out of the ball park. As he got older, he had to become more of a power hitter, but the truly great Thomas years were when he drove the ball to all fields on a line.
   66. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:24 AM (#4640783)
Could there be a more classic candidate for steroids use? A mountain of a man child who graduated from Auburn's football program in the 80s and went on to hit 500 major league home runs, and who had something of a a mid-career resurgence, fighting off injury and decline to rebound to two 40+ HR seasons and one of 39.


Except, you know, that he was a huge ####### man as a youngster and had his best seasons before he was 30 and his very best at 26. ####, there was even a draft scouting report the other day that indicated that Thomas was "a huge man" and needed to lose weight even at the age of 21. So yeah, there isn't a more classic case than those things.
   67. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 17, 2014 at 12:41 AM (#4640786)
####, there was even a draft scouting report the other day that indicated that Thomas was "a huge man" and needed to lose weight even at the age of 21.


Yes. After he went through Auburn's steroids-fueled program.
   68. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 02:59 AM (#4640813)
Yes. After he went through Auburn's steroids-fueled program.


For a single season. Unless you think the baseball program was also steroid-fueled.

I do have to give you credit. What I have inferred from your posts is that you believe that Frank started roiding as an 18 year old freshman at Auburn and never stopped. That logic at least supports his fairly boring performance line in which he basically aged like a normal player. If he were on roids the entire time, then it makes sense we wouldn't see any performance gains as they would have already been present as a 19 year-old.
   69. Wahoo Sam Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:13 AM (#4640816)
Just curious, why do most regulars here believe that steroids had no effect on any player's performance?
   70. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 03:47 AM (#4640819)
Just curious, why do most regulars here believe that steroids had no effect on any player's performance?


While I am not a regular, I have butted my way into this thread so I guess I so should state my opinion.

My opinion is that strength changes the manner in which one can approach hitting a baseball. Stronger players have to do less to generate torque (i.e., bat speed) meaning they can do things like shorten strides and become more selective. This increases the capability of hitters in general, as more time to decide makes for a better hitter.

So, my firm belief is that strength = shorter swing = better hitter. I also believe the steroids, HGH and other PEDs increase strength so...
   71. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:22 AM (#4640820)
To add to my previous post, here are a couple Sosa clips to demonstrate my point. First is of Sosa as a young man in 1990.

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM8nIU5HB-4</a>

Notice how much movement he has in his swing. His foot is lifted before the pitcher even throws and he's moving all over the place. He's trying to generate power with a ton of movement.

Here's a clip from 2000:

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMo6iDLIK0Q</a>

Check out the replay beginning at the 0:16 mark. Look how quiet everything is. His foot barely move and his lower body basically sits still. He is loaded up and ready to pounce. His hands still have movement, but his head and lower body are as quiet as can be. This is because he is now able to generate the needed bat speed without relying upon momentum. He can do so with his hips, his core, and his upper body, and do so in a manner that keeps his lower body and head still as can be.

These clips show why Sosa got so much better as a hitter. The reason behind them is that he got more strength. I don't think Sosa's gains were based upon PEDs, but these should show how PEDs could make a difference.

Here's another clip for comparison...Hank Aaron's record setting home run:

<a>http://m.mlb.com/video/v4429231/40874-aaron-hits-hr-no-715-to-pass-babe-ruth</a>

Look at how far his lower body and head move during his stride. He is committing momentum to generate his power, meaning he has to sacrifice time as well as stillness to create the bat speed. Compare that to my final comparison...young Albert Pujols:

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4ptxMSM8Pc</a>

Watch his heads and his lower body. They barely move. He basically coils at stance and then rotates. There is virtually no forward momentum, meaning no need to move his head or his hands prior to launch. His swing is exquisite.

You can only hit like Albert Pujols if you can generate his bat speed without momentum. Few can do it, and those who can are ridiculously strong. Whether you believe PEDs help players become stronger is up to you.

Four more clips to peruse. First a young Mark McGwire versus record setting Mark McGwire. Here is young Mac hitting a HR versus Boston (go to 0:14 second mark).

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk6zZpN2Ud4</a>

Here is McGwire's 70th:

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L_TAd4gUAA</a>

Look at the difference in movement. In the first clip. His entire body is basically in motion. His power is undeniable, but so are the holes in his swing. In the second, he barely moves. He basically has a lift step to allow him to time his torque and that's it. Nothing else moves, not his head, his hips, nothing. Not surprising that he was an absolute beast as an older player.

One final set of clips that I find extremely interesting. it is Barry Bonds in 1993 versus Barry Bonds hitting #71. Here are the two clips:

<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abcD0uatE3s (go to 1:00 for a homerun swing)</a>
<a>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4yspLJOeo4 (go to 7:00 to see #71)</a>

In this case, I see no difference. I see the same quiet head and minimal movement elsewhere. What this suggests to me is that Bonds' increased strength simply made a superb, HOF caliber player into an something out of a video game. Unlike others, he had already mastered the ability to generate amazing torque with a quiet lower body and head and the extra strength simply increased the amount of torque generated. Thus and exceptional player became an otherworldy player.


Note - I am not suggesting any of these players used PEDs. I am simply showing how different their swings became as years progressed and they gained strength. They could have easily gained strength naturally. Hell, I did as a 26 year-old once I got off my ass and hit the gym. The point remains that strength can help quiet a swing which invariably allows a player to become a better hitter. How you get that strength is certainly up for debate.
   72. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:36 AM (#4640821)
So I guess I should post some Thomas clips to be fair.

Here is a home run from 1995 ASG:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLj8Bt2jTsA

Lots of movement, as Frank was known for.

Here is his 2 HR game fir Oakland in the playoffs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9wOcv6vV9M

Not quite as much movement, but Thomas is still moving a ton as he has a full leg lift and step forward. The main difference is that he has a closed step as a young man and an open step as an older player. That is most likely due to hand speed issues as, quite frankly, I have no idea how he was so successful with his approach as a young player. His approach was commensurate with a young Hank Aaron which simply shouldn't have been that successful in today's age.
   73. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:50 AM (#4640823)
These clips show why Sosa got so much better as a hitter. The reason behind them is that he got more strength. I don't think Sosa's gains were based upon PEDs, but these should show how PEDs could make a difference.


I tried to edit this but the EDIT function did not work. I should have stated that these "show how increased strength could make a difference." Now, I believe PEDs increase strength, but others may not. Sorry to imply that Sosa may have used PEDs.
   74. SuperGrover Posted: January 17, 2014 at 04:57 AM (#4640824)
At this point I would pretty much be shocked if Thomas didn't use. It seems like he's been obsessed with all the home runs others were hitting for quite some time now. That's been a rather eye opening part of his recent comments, to me. He didn't give this level of detail before, to my knowledge. Now the more he talks the more we learn that it was all about home runs for him the entire time.


That's because you weren't paying attention. Frank has been obsessed with his numbers his entire time in the league. It's one of the reasons he's never been considered a great teammate.

Here's the best source I can find for this:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/whitesox/ct-frank-thomas-walt-hriniak-sox-spt-0111-20140111,0,6402252.story

See about middle of the article.

Frank was always worried about stats. Always. There were rumors that he would be happy if he did well and the Sox lost and down if he struggled and the Sox won. I have seen no evidence either way on that one.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam S
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogCameron: Numbers don't lie: The decline of Pujols is stunning
(212 - 8:31am, Apr 23)
Last: Random Transaction Generator

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for APRIL 22, 2014
(92 - 8:23am, Apr 23)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogThe Baseball Equivalent of Hitting on 16 | FanGraphs Baseball
(28 - 8:14am, Apr 23)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread March, 2014
(1049 - 8:11am, Apr 23)
Last: Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14!

NewsblogRoyals G.M. Dayton Moore believes hitting will come around
(8 - 8:10am, Apr 23)
Last: TRBMB

NewsblogJosh Lueke Is A Rapist, You Say? Keep Saying It.
(14 - 8:07am, Apr 23)
Last: Long Time Listener, First Time Caller

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-23-2014
(1 - 8:06am, Apr 23)
Last: Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings

NewsblogESPN: W. P. Kinsella: Where It Began: “Shoeless Joe”
(83 - 7:57am, Apr 23)
Last: Bitter Mouse

NewsblogJ.R. Gamble: Albert Pujols' 500-Homer Chase Is A Bore, But That's Baseball's Fault
(29 - 7:39am, Apr 23)
Last: JE (Jason Epstein)

NewsblogOTP April 2014: BurstNET Sued for Not Making Equipment Lease Payments
(2055 - 7:37am, Apr 23)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2
(191 - 7:20am, Apr 23)
Last: Flynn

NewsblogDaniel Bryan's 'YES!' chant has spread to the Pirates' dugout
(177 - 6:30am, Apr 23)
Last: SouthSideRyan

NewsblogMartin Maldonado suspended
(34 - 5:19am, Apr 23)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogMike Trout And Bryce Harper Are Baseball’s Best Young Position-Player Duo Ever
(9 - 2:57am, Apr 23)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOT: NBA Monthly Thread - April 2014
(468 - 1:05am, Apr 23)
Last: robinred

Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats

 

 

 

 

Page rendered in 0.4272 seconds
54 querie(s) executed