On the third anniversary of his being voted into the Hall of Fame, I want to reflect on what I believe is Frank Thomas’ finest hour.
It was a moment when the White Sox legend told the world he was clean and he hated steroids.
I believed him then and I believe him now.
I have always said if I am ever accused of something I did not do, I would scream from the mountain tops: I AM NOT GUILTY!
That’s exactly what Frank did except he did it before Congress, which is a little more daunting than the mountain tops.
On St. Patrick’s Day 2005, “Big Frank” testified, via satellite from Arizona, before the Committee on Government Reform, which convened at the United States House Representatives in Washington.
The panel was called “Restoring Faith in America’s Pastime: Evaluating Major League Baseball’s Efforts to Eradicate Steroid Use” and included Senators John McCain and Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher, among others.
Players or former players called to testify were, in order of appearance, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire, Curt Schilling and Thomas.
According to a Washington Post article, Thomas and Schilling were invited because of their vocal opposition to steroid use.
The other players all had been connected to or accused of steroid use. Thomas did not take part in the questioning but did make the following statement:
“Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee. I want to thank the Chairman and the Ranking member for allowing me to make this statement. My name is Frank Thomas and I am a baseball player for the Chicago White Sox — a team I am proud to have been part of since joining Major League Baseball in 1989.
“First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me say that as an outspoken critic of steroids, I would like to work with this Committee, Major League Baseball, and the Players Association to warn everyone – especially young people – about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs. Steroids are dangerous and the public should be educated about them, and in particular, parents should make sure their children are aware that steroids can be bad for their health.
“I also believe the League and the Players’ Association have done the right thing by reopening our collective bargaining agreement and strengthening our policy on drug testing. I support this new policy as a very good first step in eliminating steroid use from the sport I love.
“I have been a major league ballplayer for 15 years. Throughout my career, I have not used steroids. Ever.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.”
Thank you, Frank,.