March 16th, 2006

Who was better?

An inter-office debate has been raging here at LeLacheur Park. Stemming from an innocent comment about Pete Rose’s ineligibility for the Hall of Fame, a discussion of Rafael Palmeiro’s chances in Cooperstown led to a comparison of Palmeiro and Frank Thomas.

Following, we’ll outline the cases of each. Please weigh in with your take — your say will help us come to a conclusion. Rest assured, there’s a lot of pride riding on this one… PLEASE NOTE — ALTHOUGH PALMEIRO WAS FOUND TO HAVE TAKEN STEROIDS, WE ARE DISREGARDING STEROIDS FOR THE SAKE OF THIS ARGUMENT.

When you think of current players that should be sure-fire Hall of Famers, there’s no doubt in my mind that Frank Thomas is an automatic. He was an absolute monster in the early-to-mid 1990’s, hitting well over .300 in his first eight Major League seasons. Add on a steady barrage of home runs — an average of 37 homers per 162 games — and innumerable walks, Thomas was known as the most dominant hitter, let alone first baseman, in the 1990’s.

If you want the hardware, check this out: Thomas won back-to-back MVP’s from ’93 to ’94 and was in the top-three in MVP voting three other times; he is a five-time All-Star; and he’s led the league in OBP and OPS four times. I should mention his career AVG/OBP/SLG line of .307/.427/.568, an astronomical total.And I know we’re disregarding steroids, but Thomas lit it up to the tune of back to back 41 and (strike-shortened) 38 longballs before the offensive age officially began in ’95.

3000 hits, 500 HR, 1800 RBI — BOTTOM LINE!!!
One of only 4 players in history to accomplish this feet — who are the others you ask? Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray, all Hall of Famers.

Let us know what you think — who’s the better first baseman? Was it Thomas? Was it Palmeiro? Was it someone else? Click on each player’s name for their stats.