Between the Chicago White Sox winning three of four games on the road in Minnesota and legendary White Sox slugger Frank Thomas entering the Baseball Hall of Fame, Sox fans enjoy quite a weekend these past four days.
The White Sox jumped on the Twins early and often during the first three games of the series, outscoring their division rivals, 21-7. The series win was highlighted by Jose Abreu extending his hitting streak to 17 games with six hits throughout the four games, including his major league-leading 30th home run of the season and Chris Sale picking up his 10th victory of the series during Saturday’s game.
Sale was as dominant as usual in the 7-0 White Sox win on Saturday night. In eight scoreless innings, Sale gave up just five hits, did not walk a hitter and struck out 12 on 112 pitches (79 strikes).
“He was great, seemed to have everything, and he was just working fast,” manager Robin Ventura said of Sale. “This was just a great performance by him. And the offense, I think, any time you get some runs like that and you feel confident you’re going to score like that, it just, I think that’s another reason it gets him going pretty quick.”
-Robin Ventura on Chris Sale, CSNChicago.com
During the win, Sale lowered his earned run average to 1.88, second in all of baseball behind Clayton Kershaw.
The big moment for Chicago baseball fans was the induction of White Sox great Frank Thomas into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thomas, 46, joined former Chicago Cubs right-handed maestro Greg Maddux and former White Sox manager Tony La Russa into this year’s class of baseball greats to be enshrined into Cooperstown.
Thomas’ speech was fantastic. If you have not listened to the 17-minute (roughly) speech from The Big Hurt, I highly suggest you take the time to watch here.
As a White Sox fan, it warmed my heart to see Big Frank as emotional as he has ever been on Sunday afternoon. Like Brad Pitt said in Moneyball, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?”
Frank’s amazing speech tugged at heartstrings across the nation. Thomas oozed class and the up-most respect for everyone who helped make The Big Hurt a two-time American League Most Valuable Player and a World Series Champion, including the tear-jerking segment about his deceased father, Frank Sr.
“Thanks for pushing me and always preaching to me, ‘You could be someone special, if you really work at it.’ I took that heart, pops, and look at us today,”
-Frank Thomas on his late father, Frank Sr., during his Hall of Fame induction speech
Personally, Frank Thomas is the reason I grew up a Chicago White Sox fan. I made drafting him my number-one priority on a classic computer game called Backyard Baseball 2001, where Major League Baseball stars play as kids in pick-up baseball games. I spent countless hours in my backyard emulating Thomas’ swing and hitting whiffle-balls as far as I could.
Sure, watching the White Sox load the bases up in the ninth inning and leaving all three runners stranded to lose the series finale was not fun, but watching one of the greatest right-handed hitters of the last 30 years take his rightful place into the Baseball Hall of Fame was a sight that I will never forget.