Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

February 23, 2014

Thomas headed to ’big leagues’ as baseball analyst

MACON — Just in time for his entry into the Hall of Fame, Frank Thomas is moving up to the broadcasting big leagues.

Thomas will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as players inducted into the Hall this summer. He said Saturday he’s completing details on an agreement to work this season as a studio baseball analyst for Fox Sports 1, based in Los Angeles. The network has not announced Thomas’ new role.

He has worked the past three seasons on local broadcasts for Comcast in Chicago. He said he expects to continue to have a role with Comcast this year.

“I’ve been doing pregame and postgame the last three years in Chicago,” Thomas said. “I’ve stayed involved that way. This is more a call to the big leagues. I’ve been doing local the last three years, and getting a call as well as the Hall of Fame was great.”

Thomas said his year has been a whirlwind. On Saturday, the Columbus native was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s great to see a career fulfilled in this way,” he said. “It was a great career and acknowledgement means everything.”

He said he has no sympathy for those excluded from baseball’s Hall because they took shortcuts with performance-enhancing drugs. He won AL MVP awards in 1993 and 1994 and finished his 19-year career with a .301 batting average, 521 homers and 1,704 RBIs.

Thomas said if he’d taken the same shortcuts as some of his peers, his career could have been even greater.

“No doubt about it. I’ll be honest, I lost a lot,” he said. “I probably lost another two MVPs. I lost probably another 150 home runs or so, if you think about it. I could have had one of those historical careers, but I’m proud of what I did.

“I’m not a sore loser because I had so much fun in the major leagues. I know a lot of guys had great talent against me. I know guys made decisions a lot of them are regretting right now, but I’ve never been one who was all upset with them because they made the decisions. They made them for their families,“ he continued. “But I’ve already told a couple guys, don’t come crying now, though. Once you crossed that line, don’t come back crying when something is found out, and a lot of guys did that. That’s the only thing that upset me, because guys knew what they were doing.”

Thomas said his election into the baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility is proof that he made the right decisions.

“Guys got caught. They feel like they didn’t do anything wrong because there were so many guys doing it,” Thomas said. “But I’m like, hey, you guys have that talent. There are four or five guys we know who were Hall of Famers who didn’t need to cheat and they did, because of the money. They wanted the money. They wanted the big dollars.

“I’m sorry. I lost a lot of money not doing it, you know? That’s just the way it is,” he said. “That’s why opportunity keeps coming my way now.”

He said his greatest reward is peace of mind.

“I sleep better every day of the week,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about my phone ringing and somebody going, ‘We found out you did this and that.’ It’s great to go home and sleep at night. From day one I’ve told people that.”

Thomas has been consistently candid in his comments about players he said used PEDs. He said he’ll also be candid — but mostly positive — as a TV analyst. Thomas, who spent most of his career with the White Sox, said that will include analysis about his former team.

“I can’t cut Chicago any slack if they’re not playing well,” he said. “I’ve got to call it like I see it. But we’ll have fun. I’ll be more of a positive guy, 80 percent of the time. Every now and then I might need to say something to get a guy jump-started.”

Also inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame were former Auburn and NFL running back James Brooks, former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins, former college and NFL football coach and Georgia Tech athletic director Homer Rice, LPGA star Hollis Stacy, high school football coach Jim Hughes, Georgia and NFL defensive back Scott Woerner and college basketball star Chester Webb.

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