Hall of Fame Baseball Player Frank ‘The Big Hurt’ Thomas Could Have Pursued an NFL Career
Frank Thomas had a successful MLB career. In 2014 he inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Before Thomas pursued his MLB career, he was a star athlete in college. He attended Auburn University on a football scholarship.
Though he went to Auburn to play football, Thomas still had a love for baseball. He joined the baseball team at Auburn, and the rest is history. If Thomas continued to play football, he could have had a good chance of playing in the NFL.
Frank Thomas’ career at Auburn
In high school, Thomas was a star athlete at Columbus High School in Georgia. He played basketball, baseball, and football. After high school, Thomas thought that he would hear his name called in the 1986 MLB draft, but that did not happen.
So, he decided to accept a football scholarship from Auburn University. Even though Thomas went to Auburn to play football, and he could not stay away from the game of baseball. He only played one season of college football due to injuries. In his first year with Auburn, he played tight end and caught three passes for 45 yards. The football team finished with a 10-2 record that season.
When baseball season came, Thomas hit .359 and led Auburn in RBIs in his first year. Going into his sophomore season, Thomas suffered a few injuries during the football season, which ended his football career at Auburn. So, Thomas focused on baseball full-time. At the end of his junior season, he hit 19 home runs, 19 doubles, and hit .403 at the plate. Thomas was becoming a dominant player on the baseball field. When Thomas finished his senior year, he was named the SEC MVP. He finished his career with 49 home runs, which was a school record.
Frank Thomas’ MLB career
After his time at Auburn, Thomas was getting ready to play professionally in the MLB. The Chicago White Sox selected him with the seventh pick in the first round of the 1989 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut during the 1990 season and played in 60 games. He finished with a .330 batting average with seven home runs and 31 RBIs.
Thomas would start to show tremendous improvement after his first MLB season. In his second season with the White Sox, he won a Silver Slugger award batting .318 and hitting 32 home runs. In his first eight seasons, he hit over.300, and he won back-to-back AL MVP awards during the 1993 and 1994 season. He also made the all-star team five straight seasons.
Thomas was a threat when he stepped to the plate. Pitchers did not want to pitch to him. He led the AL in walks four times throughout his career. Thomas was a powerful hitter, and he had a really good eye too. He spent the majority of his career playing for the White Sox. Thomas also played for the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays. He finished his career with a .301 batting average, 2,468 hits, 521 home runs, and 1,704 RBIs. He received numerous individual awards and had his No. 35 retired by the White Sox.
Frank Thomas could have pursued an NFL career
Everything worked out for Thomas when he decided to focus on baseball. But what would it have looked like if Thomas did not suffer those injuries during his college football career? Thomas was a gifted athlete, and he had the size and ability to play football professionally.
Everything worked well for Thomas in the long run. Thomas didn’t go to Auburn initially to play baseball. He walked onto the baseball team. When you think about the two-sport athletes like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, if Thomas was healthy, his name may have been in that category with those two.