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Frank Thomas, The Big Hurt. This guy was one of the best baseball players of the 90's. Frank Thomas' wife Megan Thomas has had two kids with the man, and she's not shy to show them off on twitter. Frank is going to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in about a month. This is a pretty significant induction because, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, it marks only the second time in the history of the Hall of Fame that three players will be inducted in their very first year of eligibility. In case you're wondering, the other time was Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount back in 1999. Craig Biggio missed the cutoff this year. Sorry, Craig-- maybe next year.
If you look at Frank Thomas' numbers from the 90's, it's easy to understand why he's been elected. He was a consecutive MVP in 1993 and 1994, hitting .317 and .353 with 41 and 38 homers, respectively. Over the course of 19 years, he was able to keep his lifetime batting average at .301, and he had 521 home runs and 2468 hits in his career. From 2001 to his retirement in 2008, he was kind of lackluster. He started petering off just as everyone else was injecting bodybuilder-size rations of steroids into their guns. Thomas is notable as one of the guys to speak out against the use of hormones and steroids as early as 1995. He was the only active player to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report, according to Wikipedia, and he did so voluntarily. I do believe him that he never used steroids, as he claims. I remember one year back in the late 90's when steroids became a thing, and out of nowhere Brady Anderson somehow became a guy that hit 50 home runs in a season. It's so obvious what was going on. Look at Brady Anderson's career stats, and you'll see a guy who hit 15-20 home runs per season, and then you'll see a guy who became Mark McGwire for a season.
Frank has also started a beer company called BHB (Big Hurt Beer), and his wife frequently posts pictures of people guzzling the stuff on her twitter. Megan seems like a fine, caring wife and mother. Frank also began a stint as a baseball analyst this year. Always nice to hear commentary from some of the best.
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We're not allowed to trade with you, Cuba, but we will take any baseball player you'd like to give us. That's our stance on the wonderful wellspring of baseball talent known as Cuba. Alexei Ramirez's wife Mildred Ramirez is happy he's here and doing well for the White Sox. The two have two kids and are loving life. A few years ago, though, she joined her husband in being not so happy about some comments Alexei's old manager uttered about the dictator Alexei fleed from.
That former manager is Ozzie Guillen. We all know Mr. Guillen as someone who occasionally flies off the handle and says dumb stuff to reporters. He's had a few controversies centered around the gay and lesbian community and Asians, but none so big as the cauldron of bad vibes he brewed up in Miami just five games into his job. In April of 2012, he told a reporter that he admired Fidel Castro. He's the manager of the Florida Marlins! He just poisoned the well of good feelings from pretty much the entire Cuban community in Miami, and guess what-- it's a very large community-- and most of them don't admire Fidel Castro. The same is true of Alexei Ramirez. Though Ozzie was his manager for some time and even gave him the nickname the "Cuban Missile," Alexei was fairly perturbed by Guillen's comments. He handled it with class, pretty much just saying he was entitled to his opinion but that he didn't share the same feelings, and that an apology would be a good way to start for making up for his comments.
Well, it's 2014 now, and Ozzie Guillen is no longer a manager. He was let go of by the Marlins despite having had something like three years left on his contract. Gee, they seemed to have changed their opinion of him. Alexei, on the other hand, is an all-star now. He's proven himself to be an excellent fielder and good asset to the Chi-Sox. He's had a bit of a rough time since the start of June, hitting in the low .200's since June 1, but he's still ready to roll.
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Jose Abreu has thus far proven to be a beast. How often do you hear about a guy joining the Majors out of the blue and lighting everyone up right out of the gate? Jose Abreu's wife Maria Abreu is probably just happy to be here. The two of them defected from Cuba with their son. They don't like talking about it, but it's hard to see the downside other than leaving family and friends. The United States continues to embargo Cuba because, you know, we're jerks.
Abreu signed a $68 million dollar contract after a brief stay in Haiti. Being a defector makes it a little easier to work towards citizenship because it means you have reason to stay away from your home country for safety sake. Generally a foreigner has to get an "O" Visa, designated for foreigners with special skills and abilities. Well, if it's the special skill of hitting home runs into outer space, then you've got your man, Chicago. It's also been pointed out that the White Sox has been a home to many Cuban players. Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciendo are some that the Chicago Tribune named in an article in January explaining the trials and tribulations of Jose and Maria. Since this was before his first season started, there's a short paragraph in the article wondering about his potential and if he'd have the ability to hit MLB pitchers.
The answer is yes: he's smashed 26 home runs in 71 games so far, and he's racked up 67 RBI's. In his first 10 games, he clocked 14 RBI's. The White Sox offices must have been elated. He continually declines to join the home run derby for some reason. In a brief interview a day ago, he told the reporter he's just concentrating on helping his team win, and that he basically doesn't care about the home run derby. Fair enough. It's sort redundant. It's like watching batting practice only on national television. I guess I agree with Jose.