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Doubting Thomas?óBig Hurt Learning to Regret Overly Apropos Nickname
2005-05-31 09:16
by Mike Carminati
You may break, you may shatter the vase if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.

—Sir Thomas "Jo-Jo" Moore

Frank Thomas returned to the White Sox lineup yesterday for the first time this season, the first time in almost 11 months actually. He scored a run on a walk and two hitless at-bats. Said Thomas, "So, this is Opening Day for me. It's a holiday, and I'm going out there and do my job. It was the same old thing, really." Yeah, he left the game with an injury after scoring the run. Same old thing.

Oddly, Timo Perez, the anti-Frank Thomas, replaced him as the Sox DH and helped Chicago win the game. Thomas's injury is not expected to keep him out of the lineup long:

"I just felt a little twinge in the hip flexor," he said. "It was just one of those things you don't want to get out of hand by hitting a line drive and having to leg it out. It's a day-by-day situation, and I'm feeling good. I didn't want to go out on the first day and be down for two weeks."

Thomas is so well acquainted with injury that he can now diagnose himself. Even though he might not be out long, at 37 and given his history, every injury could be the last one. It made me wonder how many players had played just one game in their final year after a long, productive career.

I found 36 men (min. 1000 career games), the last of which was Chris Chambliss, who had been activated for one game after becoming a hitting coach. Actually, I think that Chambliss is more the rule than the exception with a good number of coach types reactivated or revivified for a September cup of Joe:

NameFinal Yr# GCareer GsOPSHall?
Chris Chambliss198812175.749
Manny Mota198211536.744
Connie Ryan195411184.694
Snuffy Stirnweiss195211028.733
Ben Chapman194611717.823
Red Kress194611391.767
Paul Waner194512549.878Y
Cy Perkins193411171.670
Lu Blue193311615.803
Ivey Wingo192911327.662
Johnny Evers192911784.690Y
Jimmy Austin192911580.640
Stuffy McInnis192712128.723
Fred Merkle192611638.714
Burt Shotton192311387.698
Possum Whitted192211025.675
Hughie Jennings191811285.796Y
Germany Schaefer191811150.639
Harry Davis191711755.743
Billy Sullivan191611147.535
Fred Clarke191512242.814Y
Frank Chance191411287.787Y
Deacon McGuire191211781.713
Kid Gleason191211966.628
Lou Criger191211012.584
Bill Dahlen191112443.739
Jack O'Connor191011451.643
Patsy Donovan190711821.702
Hugh Duffy190611737.834Y
Jack Doyle190511564.737
Herman Long190411874.718
Jim O'Rourke190411999.775Y
Patsy Tebeau190011167.696
Buck Ewing189711315.807Y
Arthur Irwin189411010.604
Hick Carpenter189211118.603

"Now Batting for Pedro Borbon" Manny Mota definitely fits the reactivated coach profile. On an unrelated note, Evers and Chance: What no Joe Tinker?

Thomas, who I think has Hall-worthy numbers already, would probably be the best player on the list. I am be wrong, but I have a feeling that the writers in general would be lukewarm on his Hall candidacy, especially because of the excessive DHing. One thing's for sure: Thomas has not helped himself much by being out of the lineup so much. He's missed significant time in three of the last five seasons. With the Sox in solid contention for a playoff spot, he could have just his third shot at the postseason. A solid playoff appearance to go along with his great 1993 ALCS vs. the Jays (and his abysmal showing vs. the M's in 2000) could go a long way towards solidifying his plaque-worthiness. It sure didn't hurt Jack Morris.

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