CHICAGO — Retired Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas feels even better about his career after watching steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens fail to gain entry to the Hall of Fame.
“I think I’ve done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” he said Saturday at the team’s fan convention.
“Watching all the nonsense unfold and not really knowing what was going on, it makes me much more proud of my career,” he said. “I competed in that era. I played at a high level in that era. There are a lot of great players, but as it unfolds, a lot of it was not the real deal. I know 100 percent I was the real deal.”
Bonds, Sosa and Clemens were denied in their first year of eligibility amid suspicions by some voters that their accomplishments were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs. Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, received 16.9 percent of the vote on his seventh try, far short of the 75 percent needed for election.
“I wouldn’t say I feel bad for them,” Thomas said. “I respected them on the field, but they chose this. They made their own decisions off the field and they’ve got to live with it.”
He said their numbers were “incredible” but “fake.”
“Any time you look at the PED situation, you look at the Lance Armstrong situation — you look at stuff like that, it’s serious out there,” Thomas said. “Thank God I’m blessed I did it the right way. I had a good family base that made me outwork everybody else because that’s the only way I made it to the big leagues.”
A two-time American League MVP with a .301 average and 521 homers, will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first-time eligible on the ballot sent to voters this autumn.
Thomas was surprised Craig Biggio did not gain election despite having 3,060 hits. Biggio appeared on 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots and fell 39 votes shy.
Thomas thinks baseball’s drug-testing is on the right path. Players will be tested for human growth hormone throughout the regular season following blood testing during spring training last year. Those are in addition to urine tests.
“There won’t be any more scandals. Baseball is going to be 100 percent clean,” Thomas said. “They’re going to have to be.”