Thomas became one of baseball's biggest stars in the 1990s, playing for the Chicago White Sox. He was given the nickname "The Big Hurt" by broadcaster Ken Harrelson. Thomas is one of several notable baseball players who played college baseball at Auburn University, such as Bo Jackson, who was a teammate of Thomas' in both college and the major leagues. He also played tight end for the Tigers football team.
 Early life and career
Thomas attended Columbus High School and was a standout in both football and baseball. As a sophomore he hit cleanup for a baseball team that won a state championship. As a senior he hit .440 for the baseball team, was named an All-State tight end with the football team, and played forward with the basketball team. He wanted desperately to win a contract to play professional baseball, but he was completely overlooked in the 1986 amateur draft. Baseball teams signed some 891 players on that occasion, and Thomas was not among them.
"I was shocked and sad," Thomas recalled in the Chicago Tribune. "I saw a lot of guys I played against get drafted, and I knew they couldn't do what I could do. But I've had people all my life saying you can't do this, you can't do that. It scars you. No matter how well I've done. People have misunderstood me for some reason. I was always one of the most competitive kids around."
In the autumn of 1986, Thomas accepted a scholarship to play football at Auburn University. Even so, his love of baseball drew him to the Auburn baseball team, where the coach immediately recognized his potential. "We loved him," Auburn baseball coach Hal Baird told Sports Illustrated. "He was fun to be around—always smiling, always bright-eyed." He was also a deadly hitter, posting a .359 batting average and leading the Tigers in runs batted in as a freshman. During the summer of 1987 he played for the U.S. Pan American Team, earning a spot on the final roster that would compete in the Pan American Games. The Games coincided with the beginning of football practice back at Auburn, so he left the Pan Am team and returned to college, only to be injured twice in early season football games.
Thomas might have lost his scholarship that year because he could no longer play football. Instead the Auburn continued his funding, and baseball became his sole sport. He was good enough as a sophomore to win consideration for the U.S. National Team—preparing for the 1988 Summer Olympics, but he was cut from the final squad. Stung and misunderstood again, he fought back. By the end of his junior baseball season he had hit 19 home runs, 19 doubles, and had batted .403 with a slugging percentage of .801. With another amateur draft looming, the scouts began to comprehend that the big Georgia native could indeed play baseball. By his senior year (1989) he was voted the Southeastern Conference MVP in baseball, leaving the school with forty-nine career homers, a new record.
The Chicago White Sox picked Thomas seventh in the first round of the June 1989 draft.
Thomas played first base during the early part of his career and was not known for his defense. He never won a Gold Glove at the position, and has played primarily as a designated hitter since turning 30 years old. Rather, Thomas is known for his offensive performance; some regard him as one of the best pure hitters in baseball's history. Thomas is the only player in major league history to have seven consecutive seasons of a .300 average, and at least 100 walks, 100 runs, 100 runs batted in, and 20 home runs (from 1991 to 1997). The only other player to have more than five consecutive seasons accomplishing this feat was Ted Williams with six. This accomplishment is even more remarkable considering that despite playing only 113 games in 1994, due to the labor stoppage which curtailed that season prematurely, he still was able to attain these lofty numbers, thereby keeping the streak alive. Additionally, there are only five players in history who have both hit more home runs and have a higher career batting average than Thomas (Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams).
 Chicago White Sox
In Thomas's first full season, 1991, Thomas finished third in MVP voting with a .318 batting average and 32 home runs. He won the first of four Silver Slugger awards, and led the league in on-base percentage, something he has done four times. Thomas has always been one of the most patient hitters in baseball, leading the American League in walks four times. Through the end of the 2006 season, Thomas was second among all active players in walks and third in on-base percentage, and ranked among the top 20 lifetime in both categories.
Thomas is one of only two first basemen in history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player awards in the major leagues (Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Foxx is the other, in 1932–33). Thomas accomplished this feat in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. From 1991–1997, Thomas finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting every year. In 1997, Thomas won the batting title and finished third in MVP voting. He struggled over the next two seasons, but rebounded in 2000 when he hit .328 with a career-high 43 homers and 143 runs batted in. Thomas finished second in MVP voting that season, behind Jason Giambi of the Oakland Athletics. He also won the 2000 MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award.
As a member of the White Sox, Thomas and teammate Magglio Ordóñez tied a major league record for back-to-back homers, with six in one season. Thomas has been maligned by the media, especially in Chicago, due to a dropoff in his performance later in his career. Much of this came about after the 2002 season, when the White Sox invoked a "diminished skills" clause in his contract. Oddly, this came after a season in which he hit 28 home runs with 92 RBI and 88 walks, while leading the major leagues in fly ball percentage (56.9%). Thomas somewhat resurrected his career in 2003; although he hit a subpar .267, he was tied for second in the American League in home runs (42), and was in the league's top ten in walks, extra-base hits, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging, as he led the major leagues in fly ball percentage (54.9%). In 2005, Thomas hit 12 home runs despite only having 105 at-bats in 35 games, demonstrating the fact that he still had the power that he showed earlier in his career. Adding together 2004 and 2005, he had less than 350 total at-bats because of the injuries but managed to hit 30 home runs and draw 80 walks. Thomas won a World Series title with the Chicago White Sox in 2005, but he was not on the post-season roster due to injury.
Thomas' departure was somewhat controversial. He and White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams mixed words before Thomas left for Oakland, but his statistical legacy from his time in Chicago is significant. Thomas has several White Sox records to his name, including all-time leader in runs scored (1,327), home runs (448), doubles (447), RBIs (1,465), extra-base hits (906), walks (1,466), total bases (3,949), slugging percentage (.568), and on-base percentage (.427).
 Oakland Athletics
Partially due to his recurring ankle and foot injuries, the White Sox declined to pick up the option year on Thomas' contract on December 7, 2005. However, there was some animosity in the negotiations as Thomas was called "an idiot" and "selfish" by Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams in a television interview. Thomas, for his part, criticized the White Sox for letting him go as a "passing by player" instead of treating him like a long-term mainstay for the team. He signed with the Oakland Athletics to a one year, $500,000 deal with incentives on January 25, 2006.
The Athletics installed Thomas as their everyday DH. He started the season slowly, but ended the season as the team leader in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. He provided a powerful right-handed bat in the middle of the lineup for the division-leading Athletics.
On Monday, May 22, 2006, Thomas homered twice in his first game against his former team. Before Thomas came up to lead off the 2nd inning, a musical montage played on the Jumbotron at U.S. Cellular Field, paying tribute to Thomas's legacy with the White Sox. He was cheered in his introduction by the White Sox fans. Moments later, when he hit his first home run of the night to put his former team behind in the score 1-0, he was loudly cheered along with a standing ovation.
Thomas rejuvenated his career playing with the Athletics. Through September 26, he had 38 HRs and 109 RBIs, and was named the American League's player of the week after hitting .462 with five homers and 13 RBIs in the week ending September 10. He led the league in fly ball percentage (57.3%). The 2006 post season provided Thomas the opportunity to play in his first postseason games since 2005, when the Athletics clinched the American League West title, defeating the Seattle Mariners, 12-3 on September 26. During the A's first playoff game on October 3, Thomas hit two solo home runs, leading the A's to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. His performance during the opening play-off game earned Thomas the distinction of being the oldest player to hit multiple home runs in a Major League Baseball postseason game.
On October 7, 2006, he finished behind Jim Thome, the man who replaced him as the Chicago White Sox's DH, in the voting for the American League MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award. However he was awarded with the AL players choice award for Comeback Player. He finished 4th in the vote for the American League Most Valuable Player Award].
 Toronto Blue Jays
On November 16, 2006 Thomas signed a 2-year, $18.12 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays which was officially confirmed on November 17. According to BlueJays.com, Thomas was scheduled to make $1 million (US) in the first season (with a $9.12 million signing bonus) and $8 million in the next season. The contract includes an option for 2009 contingent on his reaching 1,050 plate appearances over the next two seasons or 525 plate appearances in his 2nd year of the contract.
On June 28, 2007, Frank Thomas hit the 500th home run of his career, becoming the 21st player in the history of Major League Baseball to do so. It was a three-run shot off Minnesota's Carlos Silva. This is also notable, as Thomas was ejected in the later innings of the game for arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire.
On September 17, 2007, Frank Thomas hit three home runs in his team's 6-1 win over the Boston Red Sox. It was the second time in his career that Thomas hit three home runs in a game, the first time also against the Red Sox, on September 15, 1996, in a Chicago White Sox loss. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield started both games for the Red Sox, and gave up five of the six home runs Thomas hit, including all three in the first game.
 Baseball accomplishments
- On June 28, 2007, Frank Thomas became only the 21st player in Major League Baseball history to hit at least 500 home runs, after he hit a 1st inning home run at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome; coincidentally Thomas hit his first home run of his career there back on August 28, 1990.
- Thomas is on a short list of elite players who have hit 500 home runs while maintaining a career .300 batting average (joining Hall-of-Famers: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Henry Aaron, and later joined by Alex Rodriguez).
- Thomas is also on a short list of elite players to hit 500 career home runs and accrue at least 1600 bases on balls. The others are: Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Barry Bonds.
- Thomas was the first player in Major League history to win two silver slugger awards each at two different positions (1991 & 2000 at first base; 1993-94 as designated hitter).
- He was the 22nd player to win a second Most Valuable Player Award (1993 & 94). He was the first American League player to accomplish this since Roger Maris in 1960 and 1961.
- He was only the eleventh player in history to win consecutive Most Valuable Player Awards, and the first American League player to do so since Roger Maris in 1960 and 1961.
- He is one of four players (Eddie Murray, Hank Aaron, and Rafael Palmeiro) to collect over 500 career home runs and over 115 career sacrifice flies. This carries significance as some home run hitters are often chastised for putting their quest to hit home runs over a willingness to sacrifice oneself and advance the team.
- His 138 bases on balls in the 1991 season was not only the most accrued in a season by any American League player in the 1990s, it was the most for a season by any American League player since 1969 when Harmon Killebrew walked 145 times.
- Thomas' 0.729 slugging percentage for the shortened 1994 season was the highest season mark for an American League player since Ted Williams' 0.731 slugging percentage in 1957. Only Mark McGuire's 0.730 in 1996 has been higher since then.
- In the shortened 1994 season, Thomas achieved an On Base Percentage of 0.494 which was also the highest season mark for an American League player since Ted Williams' 0.528 on base percentage in 1957. No American League player has topped this since.
- Currently the all-time record holder for home runs by a designated hitter
- Currently ranks 18th with career 513 HRs.
- Currently ranks 22nd with career 1,674 RBIs.
- Currently ranks 20th with a .561 career slugging percentage.
- Currently ranks 5th with 120 career sacrifice flies. He is the only player in Major League history to hit over 90 sacrifice flies, and not collect a single sacrifice hit.
 Appearances in the media
Thomas appeared in the movie Mr. Baseball (as a hot-prospect rookie who forces Tom Selleck's character off the Yankees) and made a guest appearance (as himself) on the TV show Married With Children.
In 1995, a Super NES baseball video game titled Frank Thomas' Big Hurt Baseball was released for home video game play. There was also a "Big Hurt" pinball machine created by Premier Technologies (trade name Gottlieb).
In 2007, he appeared in a promotional advertisement for the Toronto Blue Jays, in which he engages in a pillow fight with children. This ad drew the criticism of the Television Bureau of Canada, who requested a "Dramatization. Do not try this at home." disclaimer be placed on the ad. A similar warning was placed on teammate A.J. Burnett's commercial. The Blue Jays, humorously, held a "Frank Thomas Kid's Pillow" promotion on September 2, 2007.
- Frank Thomas (AL baseball player). (2007, November 24). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:21, November 30, 2007