Friday, May 17, 2013

Random Topps Card of the Day: 1997 Topps #108 Frank Thomas

Thanks to the Topps Card Randomizer, introducing the Random Topps Card of the Day for Friday, May 17, 2013:

  • Official Card Set Name and Card Number: 1997 Topps #108.
  • Player Name, position, team: Frank Thomas, first baseman, Chicago White Sox.
  • Major League Debut: August 2, 1990.
  • Last Line of Statistics: 1996 stats (White Sox): 141 G, 527 AB, 110 R, 184 H, 26 2B, 0 3B, 40 HR, 134 RBI, 1 SB, .626 SLG, 109 BB, 70 SO, .349 AVG.
  • Any special information about player: Drafted by the White Sox #1st, June 1989. Bats: right. Throws: right.
  • Number of regular Topps Cards (includes regular and traded cards only): 20. This is his eighth Topps card.
  • Blurb on the back: "His home runs make the headlines, but Frank's astounding ability to reach base pushes the envelope of baseball believability. He was aboard in the first 52 games of 1996 and through the All-Star break, had not endured consecutive hitless games. On June 4, he was walked five times, missing the ML record by singling on a 3-2 pitch in his final PA."
  • Commentary: Many of Topps' designs since 1991 look fantastic when utilized horizontally. The 1997 Topps set is one fantastic example of this. The only drawback? When putting these cards in a nine pocket page, if you're trying to be consistent by having the cards line up on the back, the name on the front will be upside down. Now I know that I could easily flip the card over so that the name on the front appears right side up (and on top of the picture), but aesthetically, it would just throw off the look of the page. You can put the cards any which way you want. I'll just have to live with reading the name upside down. On an unrelated note, somebody just pointed this out on the Twitter feed yesterday. But Frank Thomas was an All-Star five times, from 1993-1997. For some reason, he was never selected to another All-Star team for the rest of his career. What??! Maybe the talent pool for first basemen in the AL was deep, but to me that's a slight. Okay, granted that Thomas' hitting numbers took a bit of a dip in 1998, and he no longer led the league in any of the major hitting stats after 1997. But there was no doubt that the Big Hurt was one of the best players to come out of the 1990 MLB Draft, if not THE BEST PLAYER. He was Mr. White Sox for me, long before he was supplanted by his replacement, Paul Konerko. Now Paulie has made a name for himself on the south side, and no doubt will be considered for HOF status when it is his time. But it would be a major travesty. A huge travesty, if in January of 2014, that this man does not make get inducted into Cooperstown. Okay, back to the point. By the time the 1997 season started, Frank Edward Thomas was a mega star! A four-time All-Star, a two-time MVP (1993-94), three-time Silver Slugger, and so feared by opposing teams that he led the league in intentional passes twice (29 in 1995 and 26 in 1996), which contributed to very high OBP's. In 1997, Thomas was named to his fifth All-Star team, and led the league in the slash categories (I heard the term "slash statistics" used to describe the OBP, SLG, and OPS statistics - because the numbers have a "/" after them when typed. Batting average can be considered a slash category too, if applied first. That's cool. I'll use that going forward). Okay, so he didn't lead in slugging (.611), but he did lead in the other averages: .347 batting average, .456 on-base percentage, and 1.067 OPS. He also hit 35 home runs, drove in 125 rbi's, and scored 110 runs. By the time he left the White Sox after the 2005 season, he was the all-time team leader in almost every hitting category. In 16 years, he hit 448 homers, 1465 rbi's, had a cumulative hitting average of .307, slash numbers of .427/.568/.995, scored 2136 runs, and walked 301 times more than he struck out (1466 to 1165). He also became a World Series Champion. Okay, I'll admit it, that other team won...only because Big Frank was a part of the team in 2005. He didn't play a single postseason game. So yeah, the "2005 season didn't happen" still applies. After a season with Oakland, and two with Toronto, Thomas retired on February 12, 2010. The White Sox retired his #35 uniform on August 29, 2010, and unveiled a bronze statue of the Big Hurt a year later. He presently runs W2W Records, a record label that he founded and was working with during his off-seasons. Now that he's retired, he is able to give the company his full attention.
  • Lo-Hi Beckett value: $0.20-$0.50.
  • How many cards of this player do I own?: 141.
Tomorrow's card will be: 1983 Topps Traded #79T. Post will arrive at 1:00 PM CST. Flash back with the blog tomorrow.


JayBee Anama

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