The Frank Thomas Card Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby is tonight.  Nearly 20 years ago, this used to be the greatest event in all of sports, that is until I discovered the Dunk Contest.  2 decades later, the dunk contest has lost virtually all of its excitement thanks to gimmickry and the curse of “seen it all before,” but the derby somehow hasn’t.  I don’t plan my day around it like I once did.  I usually don’t even watch it, but that’s more about not wanting to listen to Chris Berman than it is about the competition itself.  Sure there are years where it is completely forgettable, but Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz can tell you that recent competitions can provide for some memorable moments.

Frank Thomas participated in only two derbys, winning in his second attempt in 1995.  He didn’t waste all his home run strength for the derby, he saved it for the regular games as you’ll see below.  Tonight’s Home Run Derby is as good as an excuse as any to run through all of the 2008 Moments & Milestones cards I have for the former champ.  These were the leftovers from my infamous Pack Lottery contest mixed in with my haul from another box that I bought later on.  Yes, I have a problem.

Let the games begin!

Expect to see this image a lot

Career Home Run #66
April 30, 1993 – White Sox vs. Blue Jays

The White Sox were already up 1-0 in the bottom of the 3rd, when the Big Hurt  showed everybody how he got his nickname.  The bases were loaded and Thomas smacked the first pitch Todd Stottlemyre threw into the stands.  It was his second career grand slam.

If I'm going to be getting over 500 of these... (cont in 2 scans)

Career Home Run #94
August 15, 1993 – White Sox vs. Royals

The White Sox were down 3-1 in the bottom of the 3rd inning against Tom “Flash” Gordon.  Joey Cora was standing on first when Franky knocked a 1-0 pitch over the fence to tie the game.  His 31st of the year gave him 2 homers for the series and his third against the Royals that year.

More proof of hair loss. You think I'm joking.

Career Home Run #106
April 12, 1994 – White Sox vs. Yankees

In an offensive heavy type of game, the White Sox were already up 9-5 in the bottom of the 8th.  Thomas figured why not make the score an even double digit number and decided to make the Yanks cry in their pinstripes with a solo shot to deep left field.  Jeff Reardon gave up the run on the first pitch FT saw.  Thomas thrived on first pitches, hitting 73 homers with a 0-0 count, the most of any count combination.

...over time I have to have some fun with this...

Career Home Run #155
June 18, 1995 – White Sox at Angels

This is the first away game card I’ve covered.  The Sox were down 2-4 to the California Angels (remember them?) in the top of the 3rd inning.  With one out and nobody on, the Big Hurt got the green light on a Chuck Finley 3-0 pitch and he took full advantage.  He crushed the ball over everybody’s head to cut the lead down to one.  It was his 13th of the year and his 9th solo HR already.

...but don't expect creative captions for every one...

Career Home Run #192
May 12, 1996 – White Sox vs. Yankees

Batting third, number 35, first baseman Frank Thomas.  Anxious to get the offense rolling and probably not pleased with the first two batters getting out, Frank gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.  Starter Scott Kamieniecki gave up the run and many more as the Sox scored 7 more in the second that day.  The Yankees would have the last laugh, however, as they won 9-8.

...because it would be too tough to think of new things to say...

Career Home Run #221
September 20, 1996 – White Sox vs. Twins

Frank loved to hit against the Twins.  He has more career home runs against Minnesota than any other team (52).  This one came late in the season against Rich Robertson.  With 2 out in the bottom of the 2nd inning, the bases were loaded.  RR was hoping Thomas wouldn’t railroad his team out of the game so early, but it wasn’t really up to him now was it?  With one swing of the bat, career home run 221 became grand slam number 4 and the lead extended to 5-0.

...about the same image 500 times over...

Career Home Run #298
July 8, 1999 – White Sox vs. Royals

In an injury shortened season, there weren’t too many opportunities to knock the ball out of the park, but FT still managed to hit 15 on the year.  This card represents the 12th of the year, another 1-run homer and another against the Royals.  Jose Rosado fell victim to the big bat swinging at the first pitch.  Just that quickly, the game was tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 6th.  KC would take the lead again in the 9th, but the Sox won in walk-off fashion to put their team record at .500 to that point.

...see? I've already run out.

Career Home Run #322
June 30, 2000 – White Sox vs. Red Sox

It’s white v. red.  Pick your side.  Bryce Florie came into the game to relieve Hipolito Pichardo in the 5th inning.  Florie would only last 1/3 of an inning, giving up 2 long balls.  One of which, of course, was served up to Frank Thomas who hit a solo shot to start off the bottom of the 5th which extended the lead 5-3.  Thomas would hit another home run later in the game, and you can probably guess that White won this battle.

I really don't know why I like this set as much as I do

Career Home Run #430
June 4, 2004 – White Sox at Mariners

The Big Hurt got hurt later in the season and didn’t play into July this year.  He would still manage 18 taters in that first half.  Number 12 came off of Freddy Garcia.  With no outs and Juan Uribe on second, Thomas took the first pitch he saw out into stands to give the Sox a 2-1 lead to start the 4th inning.

Oooo, a different picture.

Career Home Run #468
July 19, 2006 – Athletics at Orioles

My first card of these with a team other than the White Sox.  It still doesn’t look quite right to see him in green or blue, but such is life.  At least there was no NY on the jersey.  Anyway, the A’s were up 4-0 in the top of the 6th when Frank faced off against Kris Benson.  With one out and the bases empty, Thomas turned on a 0-1 pitch and gave the A’s their last run of the day.  It would be enough for the win.

No, I am not collecting the Black or Blue or Red versions. Too low numbered for me.

Phew, I made it through all of them!  What’s my prize for this feat of endurance?  How about this black version that was also in that extra box I bought?  I think the blue versions look the best out of all the parallels.  I won’t be giving breakdowns of any of these I acquire, only the regular versions.  You can just sit and stare at the pretty low serial numbering.

I know most of you probably think that was much more boring than a dunk contest of HR Derby, but I personally enjoy looking up the home run log on  I just love that this type of resource is available.  If you’re like me and want to see more of these write-ups?  Then just trade me some more that I don’t have already, it’s just that easy!

6 comments to The Frank Thomas Card Home Run Derby

  • Actually it reminds me that I am sorely lagging behind in collecting the first 448 cards of this Frank Thomas set within a set. Collecting 2008 cards will be the death of me. LOL

    • Jon

      If and when I get any doubles, I’ll be sure to let you know. I already have a handful of duplicates of Maddux thanks to a big ol’ lot I nabbed on ebay.
      2008 was kind of a “let’s make a card for every single play that occurred in history” type of year, wasn’t it? They’re fun, but exhausting.

  • Play at the Plate

    Has anyone put together a complete set of that stuff? That would make you want to swear off cards forever. Great post to read while watching Prince Fielder hit moon shots at the Home Run Derby.

    • Jon

      I sure hope no one has tried to complete the set. If there was a prize attached, you know someone would, sort of like the YSL and 20th Anniversary inserts.

  • I’m also trying to complete the YSL cards that feature the White Sox as the opponent. Like I said before, 2008 cards will be the death of me. 🙂

  • […] of Thomas cards that I previously got in trades or earlier boxes that I showed off in my old Home Run Derby post back in 2011, which seems impossible but […]

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