White Sox Retire Frank Thomas' No. 35

White Sox Retire #35

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCChicago.com

    Frank Thomas made his Major League debut 20 years ago when he was just a big kid.

    A six-foot, five-inch football player out of Auburn who more likely dreamed of playing at Soldier Field than Comiskey Park, Thomas developed into one of the great hitters of his generation.

    "Football was my favorite,"  Thomas said as he announced his official retirement from baseball after an 18 year career.  "I had a lot of great teammates and friends that went to the NFL and they had more talent than me and they were out in three years ... it's been a blessing."

    Like Bo Jackson before him, Thomas brought a football players' body and mindset to America's past time.  But while those around him were hitting home runs with the help of steroids, Thomas hit his 521 long balls the old fashioned way.

    "I'm happy and proud I competed and competed at a high level with all that stuff going on," he said. "It definitely shows the career that I did have. I'm proud, very proud I know i did things the right way, worked my butt off."

    He hit 521 Home runs, had a 1,701 RBI, a .300 career batting average, and a .419 on base percentage.  Just like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams before him.  And just like those men, Cooperstown awaits Thomas.

    "Hopefully I'll get that call, I put in the work, my resume speaks for itself and I'd be honored to be a part of that class of players," he said.

    In the meantime, he'll settle for having his uniform #35 retired by the team he played with sixteen years.  Through all the ups and downs of being a superstar ballplayer and leaving on bitter terms, fences have been amended.

    "It's been a helluva ride," he said.

    The jersey will be retired at Thomas day August 29th when the White Sox play the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field.