Frank Thomas sends powerful message during his Hall of Fame induction speech
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas has always been outspoken about his disgust for players who used steroids during his time in the big leagues.
Sunday, during his Hall of Fame induction speech and remarks after the day's ceremony, Thomas took a mighty swing at the players he felt cheated the game.
Speaking in front of 50 Hall of Famers and five fellow inductees from the Class of 2014, Thomas opened by thanking those who made it before him to Cooperstown.
He never mentioned "steroids" or "performance-enhancing drugs," but Thomas' message was as powerful as one of his signature 400-foot-plus home runs.
"To share the stage in front of all the legendary men who made the game better for us all, I want to first thank you all for being great role models," Thomas said. "For making this great game what it is today. Hard work, dedication and commitment. No shortcuts to success."
Later, Thomas ended his remarks by saying, "To all you kids out there, just remember one thing from today: There is no shortcut to success. Hard work, dedication, commitment. Stay true to who you are."
Thomas' thinly veiled comments about PEDs resonated with the estimated crowd of 48,000, many of whom cheered those remarks. And Thomas went even further in a post-ceremony news conference.
"This is a special weekend," Thomas said. "I just didn't think that stuff [PEDs] was necessary. We all know what's happened in the last 15 years in baseball. Today was a bright stage among heroes. I just wanted to get that out to the kids: Don't take shortcuts. Don't try to do what other people say is cool to do because it's something to get better. Just believe in yourself, hard work and dedication and stay true to yourself."
Thomas, who hit 521 home runs in a 19-year career with the White Sox, A's and Blue Jays, was voted into the Hall in his first year of eligibility as one of the few sluggers of his era who are believed to be "clean."
Four players with more career home runs (Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro) have not gotten close to reaching the 75 percent needed for induction because of their alleged association with PEDs, and there's no reason to think that's going to change any time soon.
Along with his remarks about no shortcuts, Thomas also delivered two of the most memorable moments from yesterday's speeches. He was so emotional during the early part of his speech as he talked about his family that he was practically bawling.
"I'm an emotional guy because I wear my heart on my sleeve," Thomas said.
Then, a composed Thomas gave a rapid-fire rendition of the names and nicknames of some of his favorite teammates and managers. According to ESPN.com, Thomas mentioned 138 people in that entertaining block of the speech.