Growing up in small town Virginia has always made it difficult to be a baseball fan. With no team quite close enough to call your own, you search as a kid for someone or something to help guide your decision. Would it be those St. Louis Cardinals that my father called his own? No thanks. Could it be the geographically closest Baltimore Orioles and their squeaky clean Cal Ripken Jr. Not a chance. Then of course I would take the easy route and fall in love with those early 90's Braves who seemed to play on TBS every night. I couldn't stand them. So as a youngster growing up I was drawn to the overwhelming size, strength, and pure hitting talent that Frank Thomas brought to the table. He was enough to get me to pay attention, and once I started watching, I fell in love with the Chicago White Sox.
Despite almost NEVER getting to see actual games because WGN showed mainly Cubs games, I grew up loving the White Sox. Through the years it hasn't always been easy, hell more often than not it's been hard. However, I never lost faith because as I got older I knew that the one thing I could always count on was the Big Hurt hitting .300 and depositing at least 30 HR in the seats. Sure the latter years saw that average dip and the attitude spike, but he was my guy. Scratch that, he was the White Sox' guy. The face of a franchise that I was proud of and to this day am still proud of. I could sit here and ramble on and on about his Hall of Fame worth statistics, his monumental home runs, the countless memories growing up and just being in awe of the Hurt. I am forever thankful that Frank was around for 2005 despite being injured much of the year.
To me Frank Thomas is the face of the Sox organization bar none. There will always be older fans who will talk about Aparicio, Baines, or Shoeless Joe and they all will have their points. 2 MVP awards and 500 home runs speaks volumes for where he should stand in this city. This is why I feel like it's time for Kenny Williams to do the right thing. Thomas has yet to officially retire and something tells me he is going to give it one more go this spring. Unfortunately I believe his time has come. If this is officially going to be the end for Frank Thomas and no one signs him before the end of the spring then it is Kenny Williams place to make things right. Reinsdorf and Williams should swallow their pride, take back the barbs that were thrown by both sides during Frank's departure. The White Sox owe it to themselves, Frank, and most importantly fans like me to sign Thomas to a one day contract so that he can officially retire a member of my beloved White Sox. If not for the Big Hurt I would probably never have visited the Cell and more than likely would be a Braves fan writing about how great Javier Vazquez is.