MLB.com unleashed tons of footage from its archive, allowing us to watch the Big Hurt collect his first hit, home run and grand slam
Having Twitter open during the workday, Jonah Keri was making me jealous by rifling through thousands of old highlights that MLB pulled from its vault and posted online.
Once work was over, I went through the ones that involved the White Sox (I think this search query catches them all, with a few odd ones related to other events with "classic" in their name). No doubt, the best part is getting to watch Frank Thomas at his leanest, and soon to be his meanest, over his first full calendar year in the league.
Here's Frank Thomas at 22, playing in his second big-league game. He's wearing No. 15 and leaning over at the waist, almost like he's trying to sneak up on the league. He went hitless through his first six at-bats, and now he's facing Milwaukee's Mark Knudson for the third time with the White Sox trailing 1-0 in the seventh.
Everything about this version of Thomas is more difficult to recognize ... until you see that follow-through.
Thomas went homerless through is first 24 games, although he did have three triples to his name. That changed in the ninth inning during this game against Minnesota. The pitcher is Gary Wayne, and his delivery seems like it was meant to serve up gopher balls to the Big Hurt with machine-like precision.
Thomas entered this game against Seattle hitting .313/.452/.519, so it's safe to say he couldn't sneak up on anybody anymore. He came to the plate with the sacks full of Sox and nobody out after a Robin Ventura bunt single loaded the bases, and he battled Mike Jackson to a full count.
Jackson tried fooling him with a get-me-over slider. He tricked Thomas' lower half a little bit, but Thomas didn't always need his legs. Jackson would feel the wrath of the Big Hurt's upper body in short order.