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White Sox to retire uniform No. 35 in honor of Frank Thomas; Announce 'Frank Thomas Day' will be celebrated Aug. 2902/12/2010 11:06 AM ET
CHICAGO - Frank Thomas, two-time Most Valuable Player with the Chicago White Sox and one of baseball's greatest offensive players during his playing career, will be honored by the franchise by having his uniform No. 35 retired during an on-field ceremony on "Frank Thomas Day," August 29, when the White Sox take on the New York Yankees (1:05 p.m.).
The announcement by the White Sox comes one day after Thomas announced his retirement at Thursday night's annual Comcast SportsNet Awards dinner to benefit March of Dimes. Thomas, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fundraising event, meets with the Chicago media Friday morning at U.S. Cellular Field.
"I am officially retired. It's time. It's in my heart and it's time to move on," Thomas told Comcast SportsNet Thursday night. "I'm proud to say I'm ready to retire. I enjoyed a wonderful career and have nothing left to prove. It's a young man's game now."
Thomas' No. 35 becomes the 10th uniform number to be retired by the White Sox, joining No. 2 (Nellie Fox), No. 3 (Harold Baines), No. 4 (Luke Appling), No. 9 (Minnie Minoso), No. 11 (Luis Aparicio, currently un-retired for the 2010 season), No. 16 (Ted Lyons), No. 19 (Billy Pierce), No. 42 (Jackie Robinson) and No. 72 (Carlton Fisk).
"Everyone who enjoyed watching Frank Thomas perform during his outstanding career with the White Sox quickly realized we were watching one of the greatest offensive players of all-time, a player destined to re-write our club's record books. When your career comes to an end and your body of work is compared to Hall of Famers like Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, you truly rank among baseball royalty," said Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the White Sox. "I believe it is only a matter of time until Frank receives the game's greatest honor in Cooperstown and he unquestionably deserves the honor of being recognized among the elite White Sox players in this franchise's history by having his No. 35 retired."
Thomas, 41, played 18 major-league seasons with the White Sox (1990-2005), Oakland (2006, '08) and Toronto (2007-08). He is a career .301 (2,468-8,199) hitter with 495 doubles, 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, 1,494 runs scored and 1,667 walks in 2,322 games. He was a member of the White Sox 2005 World Championship team, his final season with the club.
A five-time American League All-Star, Thomas became just the 11th player in major-league history to win consecutive MVP awards. He was a unanimous selection in 1993 after hitting .317 (174-549) with 36 doubles, 41 home runs and 128 RBI in 153 games when he led the White Sox to the AL Western Division championship and the team's first postseason appearance since 1983. In 1994, Thomas captured his second straight league honor by batting .353 (141-399) with 34 doubles, 38 home runs and 101 RBI over 113 games. Thomas finished second in AL MVP balloting behind Oakland's Jason Giambi in 2000 after hitting .328 (191-582) with 44 doubles, 43 home runs and 143 RBI. His home run and RBI totals in 2000 were both career highs.
Thomas, a member of the White Sox Team of the Century, is the club's franchise leader in numerous offensive categories, including home runs (448), doubles (447), RBI (1,465), runs scored (1,327), extra-base hits (906), walks (1,466), total bases (3,949), slugging percentage (.568) and on-base percentage (.427). He also ranks among the franchise leaders in hits (3rd, 2,136), games played (3rd, 1,959), at-bats (3rd, 6,956) and batting average (7th, .307).
Along with Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, Thomas is one of just four players in baseball history to have a .300 average with 500 home runs, 1,500 RBI, 1,000 runs scored and 1,500 walks in his career. He is a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner (1991, '93-94, 2000) and was named the 2000 AL Comeback Player of the Year.
Thomas also ranks in the Top 30 all-time in numerous offensive categories, including sacrifice flies (T4th, 121), walks (9th, 1,667), home runs (T18th), on-base percentage (21st, .419), RBI (22nd), slugging percentage (25th, .555) and extra-base hits (26th, 1,028).
In addition to historic offensive numbers, Thomas has accomplished a number of unique individual feats. In 1995, he defeated Cleveland's Albert Belle to win the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game in Arlington, Texas. The following day, he became the first Sox player to homer in an All-Star contest, belting a two-run home run off Cincinnati's John Smiley. Thomas also has a pair of three-home run games in his career: September 15, 1996 at Boston (with the White Sox) and September 17, 2007 vs. Boston (with Toronto). In 2002, Thomas hit what was then the longest home run at U.S. Cellular Field, a 495-foot blast off Minnesota's Johan Santana that landed on the left field concourse.
Thomas was selected in the first round (seventh overall) by the White Sox in the 1989 Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft. He made his major-league debut with the Sox on August 2, 1990 at Milwaukee. He finished third in the AL MVP voting in 1991, his first full-season in the majors.
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