Fmr. AU star Frank Thomas among 3 elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame

Hall of Famer Frank Thomas when he was at Auburn (Source: Auburn Athletics Dept.)
Hall of Famer Frank Thomas when he was at Auburn (Source: Auburn Athletics Dept.)

Statement released by Auburn University Athletics Dept.

Former Auburn star Frank Thomas became the first former Southeastern Conference baseball player to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Class of 2014 was announced Wednesday.

Thomas joins former Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as the three first-ballot inductees into the Hall of Fame this summer. Also earning selection this year were former big-league managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. The induction ceremony will take place July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"The Big Hurt" appeared on 483 of 571 ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, earning 83.7 percent of the vote, well clear of the 75-percent minimum required for election. Maddux received 91.9 percent of the vote; Glavine earned 91.9 percent.

Thomas played at Auburn from 1987-89 under coach Hal Baird and was Auburn's first consensus All-America selection in 1989. During his All-American season, he hit a SEC-best .403 while manning first base. He also drove in 83 runs and hit 19 home runs as the Tigers won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the Atlantic Regional. He finished his Auburn career with a .382 batting average before being drafted seventh overall by the White Sox in the 1989 MLB Draft.

During his 19-year major league career, which began in 1990, he hit .301 with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs, 1,494 runs scored and 495 doubles while drawing 1,667 walks in 2,322 games. A five-time All-Star, he was just the 11th player in big league history to win back-to-back MVP awards, winning in 1993 and 1994.

He is one of four players in Major League Baseball history to have a career .300 batting average with 500 home runs, 1,500 RBIs, 1,000 runs scored and 1,500 walks. The others are Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Thomas spent 16 of his 19 seasons with the Chicago White Sox and split his final three seasons between the Toronto Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics.