Somewhere in the ChiSox parts of the blogosphere, pundits are ranting (not really) about the return of the Big Hurt to the Windy City as a member of the Oakland A’s for a three-game series.
I, for one, will be watching all three games, but I guarantee you, I didn’t give two Big Skirts (as that buffoon Jay Mariotti would like to say) about it until I witnessed (through my handy, albeit expensive MLB.TV subscription) the lack of love, and utter disrespect the fans in Cleveland had for Jim Thome.
I won’t be in the stands, hell, I’m not even in Chicago, but rest assured I would’ve been clapping while standing on my two feet.
While healthy, Thomas was a monster for the Sox. He was one, if not the most dominant hitter in ChiSox history. Back-to-back league MVP in ’92 and ’93, and arguably, the best player ever to wear the South Sider’s shade of pinstripes as well.
I won’t get into the stats, but I know that I appreciated him, even last year when he was hampered by injuries and still managed to slug out 12 homers in 105 AB.
Heck, me and Frank go way back.
Read how after The Jump.
As a member of the under-12 club team representing Colombia in the 1993 USA Cup, a little league-style tournament held every year in Minnesotta, I had a chance to meet some fine folks up in Blaine. I also got a chance to walk on the Metrodome’s astro turf. I’m not sure that’s an accomplishment, but hey, this is a baseball blog.
Our team was hosted by a local team and the kids’ families welcomed us into their homes.
Anyway, the whole point to that off-the-mark soccer reference, is that the kid who hosted me – Michael Timlin, like the pitcher – gave me a going away present.
He asked me to choose between a White Sox fitted cap and a Florida Marlins replica batting helmet. I couldn’t sport the helmet with that greenish color – reminds me of mint-flavored pepto-bismol, if it ever existed.
Naturally I chose the Sox cap; and it fit just right.
After the tournament ended I caught a flight to Chicago, en-route to NYC where my folks were waiting for me.
At O’Hare, some lady assistant decided to strike-up a friendly chat with a 12-year-old hispanic boy. “D’you like the Sox?”
“…. yea, I guess” realizing I was waring one of the home town team’s colors.
“Do you know any of their players?” she asked again.
“Hmm..” I thought about it and… no… I didn’t. Even though the Sox had been playing better baseball than anyone in the Summer of ’93.
“Do you know Michael Jordan?” she finally offered.
“Oh yea” But wait, I thought, what’s this lady talking about, Jordan plays for the Bulls, (his Birmingham Barons days would be a year or so away).
I reckon; had I known anything about the ChiSox back then, I would’ve told the airport lady I knew who Frank Thomas was.