Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux Elected To Baseball Hall Of Fame
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 8, 2014 8:25PM
Two Chicago baseball legends were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux were both selected for enshrinement in Cooperstown in their first year of eligibility.
Maddux's selection was a virtual certainty, but Thomas was considered a bubble selection in his first year of eligibility. Thomas needed at least 75 percent of voters naming him on their ballots and received 83.7 percent. Maddux was named on 97.2 percent, one of the highest totals ever.
The "Big Hurt" played the first 16 of his 19-year career with the White Sox, joining the team in 1990. Thomas retired with 521 home runs, 1,704 runs and a .301 batting average. His tenure with the Sox included 448 homers, 1,465 RBIs and a .307 batting average. Thomas won back-to-back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994, and placed in the top five in MVP voting five times. He finished his career spending a total of three seasons between Toronto and Oakland. While Thomas' numbers were impressive in their own right, we have a feeling his numbers will be appreciated more over time as he was one of the few sluggers of his era never linked to the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs that have thus far derailed HOF entry for the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. Thomas entered the league built like a tight end (he was, at Auburn) and left the league with the same physique. A stark comparison to those who changed from bean poles into action figures as their careers progressed.
Maddux broke into the majors with the Cubs in 1986 and after a couple rough seasons blossomed into a perennial All-Star in 1988. After winning his first Cy Young award in 1992, Maddux left for the Atlanta Braves where he pitched from 1993 until 2003, winning three more Cy Young awards (1994-1996) and the 1995 World Series. Maddux returned to the Cubs in 2004 and pitched two and a half more seasons in Chicago before finishing his career with the Dodgers and Padres.
His career numbers are staggering: a 355-227 win-loss record and 3.16 lifetime ERA. An eight-time All-Star, Maddux also won 18 Golden Glove awards for his fielding. "Mad Dog" spent 10 of his 23 seasons on the North Side, compiling a 133-112 record and 3.61 ERA, and won his 300th game as a member of the Cubs in 2004. His 11 seasons in Atlanta were his best, however. Maddux was an amazing 194-88 with a 2.63 ERA during his time with the Braves. Maddux's Atlanta teammate Tom Glavine was the third player elected to the Hall of Fame this year, and it's fitting that the two pitchers will enter Cooperstown together.