After a 19-year career in Major League Baseball filled with 521 home runs and two MVP awards, Frank Thomas is headed to Cooperstown (N.Y.) to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thomas received 83.7 percent of the votes by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in order to become a first ballot Hall of Famer Wednesday Jan. 8. A nominee needs to be included on 75 percent of the baseball writers' ballots in order to get their plaque in Cooperstown. There are 571 voters of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and Thomas appeared on 483 ballots in his first year to be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
Thomas is the first player who played in the Southeastern Conference to be voted into the Hall of Fame. He was a first baseman for Auburn from 1987 through 1989 and led the SEC in 1989 with a batting average of .403.
"I think Frank Thomas will likely be viewed as the greatest hitter ever to play at Auburn," former Auburn coach Hal Baird said in an interview years ago. "He may be the greatest hitter in the history of the Southeastern Conference."
Thomas went to Auburn originally on a football scholarship and played his freshman year in 1986 as a tight end for the football team before switching to play for Auburn's baseball team.
"I'm glad I grew up in an era that there were no shortcuts, just success. That Auburn University program it turned me from a boy to a man so fast. I just did it the hard way: Work," Thomas said Wednesday in an interview with MLB Network.
Thomas spent the majority of his MLB career playing 16 years for the Chicago White Sox, where he hit 448 home runs, had an on-base percentage of .427 and won the American League MVP Award in both 1993 and 1994.
Thomas joins fellow Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams as the only players in baseball history to have a .300 average with 500 home runs, 1,500 runs batted in, 1,000 runs scored and 1,500 walks in his career.
Thomas will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 27 with the Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which also includes former Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and former managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre.
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