Friday, February 15, 2019

Card Spotlight: 2-15-19

1999 Crown Royale Pivotal Players #8 - Frank Thomas

1999 would be the year some people started to doubt Frank Thomas. His average was definitely up from the previous year's low of .265. It should have been alarming when his average dipped 82 points in 1998, but people will forgive a low average if you bring those dingers. At least most people would. I didn't. I knew average was part of his game. Concentrate on the hits and home runs will naturally follow for a player like Frank.

When your home run production dips from twenty-nine in 1998 to fifteen in 1999, the lookie-loos really take notice. It didn't matter that he raised his average forty points. He deprived the home crowd of fireworks. Frank should be ashamed of himself... or so some fans would have you believe.

Even the most super of the super-humans are just human. I hate to burst anyone's bubbles, but it's true. Even when players retire, they are constantly reminded of their successes and failures. It's almost like a curse. The more successful you are, the more chances you get reminded on a daily basis. You are expected to know that you sign up for that when you play a major sport, but I suspect that many don't realize how intrusive it can be. Let alone how these distractions can get in a player's head.

Frank Thomas has a cantankerous way of shutting people down. When someone starts to doubt and count him out, Thomas responds. In response to the 1999 season, Frank had a monster year in 2000. He lost out on a third MVP to a steroid user. Steroid users are something that Thomas has felt strongly enough in his career. He and his teammates were ready to refuse their testing, so it would come back as a positive, in order for testing to become mandatory for the MLB. When he was granted free agency by the White Sox after the 2005 season, Frank responded by signing with the Oakland Athletics and having a monster year with them, nearly snagging another MVP honor.

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