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A spirit that is not afraid

Trustees approve construction of Frank Thomas statue

Frank Thomas poses for a team photo during his baseball days at Auburn. (Auburn University Libraries)
Frank Thomas poses for a team photo during his baseball days at Auburn. (Auburn University Libraries)

A statue of Auburn baseball legend Frank Thomas is set to come to Plainsman Park, joining the likes of Bo Jackson, Shug Jordan, Pat Dye and Charles Barkley as former Auburn athletes enshrined in statues on Auburn’s campus.

The Auburn University Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to create the statue at its April 22 meeting at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. According to a press release from Auburn Athletics, the statue's dedication will take place during the 2023 baseball season. 

Detailed information about the statue location and dedication date will be announced in the future, the press release says. 

“I am extremely humbled and thrilled to be honored with a statue at Auburn University where it all began,” Thomas said in a statement. “Thank you to Allen Greene, head coach Butch Thompson, the Athletic Department and the Board of Trustees for placing me among a few Auburn elites. Thank you for selecting me as Auburn’s first baseball player to receive this special recognition.”

Thomas, who played first base at Auburn from 1987-1989, is the only former Auburn athlete to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Thomas finished his time at Auburn with the program’s second-highest career batting average (.382) and highest career slugging percentage (.722). Thomas also holds the third spot for most home runs at Auburn, amassing 49 during his three years on the team. His 104 extra-base hits rank fourth and his 205 RBI are fifth.

Thomas also played football under head coach Pat Dye while at Auburn.

“At Auburn I became a man. I was blessed to have Coach Pat Dye and his staff who pushed me to new heights and instilled football toughness and a will to win that I never knew existed,” Thomas said.  “I was also lucky enough to have Coach Hal Baird and his baseball staff to help mold and prepare me for the next level."

Thomas was selected by the Chicago White Sox as the seventh overall pick in the 1989 MLB Draft. He went on to play with the White Sox for 16 of his 19 years in the MLB, splitting the final three years of his playing career between the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics. 

Thomas was voted as the American League’s most valuable player in 1993 and 1994 and named an All Star in five seasons. One of only 27 players to have hit at least 500 home runs over their career, Thomas retired in 2008 with 521 HR, 1704 RBI, a .301 batting average and .419 on-base percentage.

In the summer of 2014, Thomas was the first player from the Southeastern Conference to make it to the Hall of Fame. 

“Frank is not only one of the best to ever put on an Auburn uniform, but he is one of the greatest in the history of our amazing league and still stands as the only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame from the Southeastern Conference," head coach Butch Thompson said. "This dedication is more than deserved, and we can’t wait to see if come to fruition at Plainsman Park."

Evan Mealins | Editor-in-chief

Evan Mealins, senior in philosophy and economics, is the editor-in-chief of The Auburn Plainsman.


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