Never one to mince words, Frank Thomas is speaking out again about players who used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Not happy at all,” Thomas said of Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez getting voted into the Hall despite PED allegations. “Some of these guys were great players. But they wouldn’t have been great players without drugs.
“I don’t mind these guys doing what they want to do for their families and making their money. But don’t come calling to the Hall of Fame and say, ‘I’m supposed to be in the Hall of Fame,’ when you know you cheated.”
Speaking to an approving audience this weekend at SoxFest, which wrapped up Sunday afternoon at the Hilton Chicago, the White Sox great said Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa might as well be in the Hall, too.
Thomas was enshrined in 2014 after receiving 84 percent of the vote his first time on the ballot.
“They’ve let a few people in already we all know,’’ Thomas said. “It’s uncomfortable at this point. I’m sure this year’s going to be uncomfortable because we’ve got two great players going in, but they know. It’s no secret. If they didn’t do it, they would be stomping and kicking and saying, ‘I didn’t do it,’ in interviews.’’
Thomas, who batted .301 with 521 home runs and 1,704 RBI in 19 seasons, is considered the greatest hitter in Sox history. A former football player and baseball star at Auburn, he was never suspected of using performance-enhancers and is proud of it.
“I never worried about the other players,’’ he said the day he was elected. “I probably was the last one who found out, honestly, that everybody was taking drugs. I felt stupid about it, but I didn’t care about what the other guys were doing. When I was healthy, I was going to give you 40 homers and 120 RBI every year.’’
Bagwell, Rodriguez and Tim Raines were elected this month and will be enshrined in July. Thomas says a lot of current players are “not happy” about suspected PED users getting in. Bonds and Clemens were passed over for the fifth time but received a majority of votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the first time and seem to be on their way to eventual enshrinement.
Thomas said he used amphetamines, commonly known as “greenies,” early in his career but not PEDs.
Thomas also said Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader who has never appeared on the ballot and has a lifetime ban because of gambling, should be in the Hall.
“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Thomas said of Rose, his Fox Sports sidekick. “If you’re gonna let the PED guys in, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Raines, who admitted to and dealt head-on with a cocaine problem early in his career before he became a teammate of Thomas’ with the Sox in 1991, was not associated with performance-enhancers.
“I don’t know why it took him so long,” he said of Raines, who made it on his last try.
NOTES: The last day of SoxFest featured manager Rick Renteria cooking up ceviche and battling 2011 American Culinary Federation Chef of the Year Carlos Gaytan to a “draw” in a cook-off. Renteria got high marks from fans for an engaging manner and his emphasis on a fundamentally sound, hustling style of baseball.
† The Sox have six prospects in MLB.com’s just-released top 100: second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 2), right-hander Lucas Giolito (12), right-hander Michael Kopech (16), right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (46), right-hander Carson Fulmer (71) and catcher Zack Collins (81). Based on overall strength in the top 100, the Sox rank second only to the Yankees.
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