New Hall of Famer Frank Thomas proud to be clean in PED era

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Always honest about PEDs in baseball, Frank Thomas’ tough talk isn’t about to stop now that he’s a Hall of Famer.

The White Sox all-time leader in home runs will be inducted into Cooperstown in July after he received 83.7 percent of the vote on Wednesday from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Several times on Wednesday, Thomas noted with pride that he achieved baseball’s highest honor without suspicion he used PEDs. Many of his peers on the 2014 ballot haven’t been able to escape those same doubts.

But Thomas said he relied on lessons learned early at Auburn University that hard work would take him where he wanted.

“I’m 100 percent clean and I’m so happy and proud of that,” Thomas said. “It’s something I prided myself in. … There were no shortcuts (at Auburn). You got to the weight room at 6, 7 o’clock in the morning, basically killing yourself, or you weren’t going to get any better. I was taught early. I took that through my career and every year I tried to work harder and harder and harder to be the best player I possibly could be.”

The decision about what to do with his peers’ Hall of Fame candidacies wouldn’t be difficult for Thomas to make, were he given the choice.

While he said he never worried about what other players did during his career, Thomas shares the belief of many fellow Hall of Famers that PED users don’t belong alongside him in Cooperstown.

“They shouldn’t be allowed in,” Thomas said. “There shouldn’t be cheating allowed to get into the Hall of Fame.”

Two of the bigger names facing suspicion are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who received even fewer votes from BBWAA voters in their second year on the ballot than they did in 2013. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner with 354 victories, received 35.4 percent of the vote while Bonds, a seven-time MVP, earned 34.7 percent.

Clemens received 37.2 percent and Bonds 36.2 percent last year.

Thomas said he’s proud his clean play received the support of those same votes.

“I faced those guys early in their careers,” Thomas said. “I know the kind of competitors they were and I know the type of players they were. As for what they did, I don’t think any of us will ever really know. But I can tell you, what I did was real, and that’s why I’ve got this smile on my face right now, because the writers, they definitely got it right.”

-- Dan Hayes,

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