Retired Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas feels even better about his career after watching steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens fail to gain entry to baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“I think I’ve done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” he said Saturday at the team’s fan convention.
“Watching all the nonsense unfold and not really knowing what was going on, it makes me much more proud of my career,” he said. “I competed in that era. I played at a high level in that era. There are a lot of great players, but as it unfolds, a lot of it was not the real deal. I know 100 percent I was the real deal.”
Bonds, Sosa and Clemens were denied in their first year of eligibility amid suspicions by some voters that their accomplishments were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs. Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, received 16.9 percent of the vote on his seventh try, far short of the 75 percent needed for election.
“I wouldn’t say I feel bad for them,” Thomas said. “I respected them on the field, but they chose this. They made their own decisions off the field and they’ve got to live with it.”
Thomas said their numbers were “incredible” but “fake.”
“Any time you look at the PED situation, you look at the Lance Armstrong situation – you look at stuff like that, it’s serious out there,” Thomas said. “Thank God I’m blessed I did it the right way. I had a good family base that made me outwork everybody else because that’s the only way I made it to the big leagues.”
The two-time American League MVP with a .301 average and 521 homers, will join Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine as first-time eligible on the ballot sent to voters this autumn.
Thomas was surprised Craig Biggio did not gain election despite having 3,060 hits. Biggio appeared on 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots and fell 39 votes shy.
Thomas thinks baseball’s drug-testing is on the right path. Players will be tested for human growth hormone throughout the regular season following blood testing during spring training last year. Those are in addition to urine tests.
“There won’t be any more scandals. Baseball is going to be 100 percent clean,” Thomas said. “They’re going to have to be.”
Yankees’ payroll to reach $206 million
Reliever David Robertson will earn $3.1 million under his one-year contract with the Yankees, a deal that increases New York’s projected payroll to about $206 million.
Robertson had asked for $3.55 million in salary arbitration and the Yankees offered $2.85 million. He made $1,625,000 last season, when the 27-year-old right-hander was 2-7 with a 2.67 ERA in an injury-filled year.
Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa says he played with a torn rotator cuff in his left, non-throwing, shoulder late last season.
Espinosa was hurt when he dived for a ball in a game in early September. On Sept. 17, Espinosa got a cortisone shot to relieve the pain. The next day, he said he had a bone bruise in his shoulder socket.
Clearing the bases
Left-hander Nate Robertson and utilityman Jeff Baker have agreed to minor league contracts with the Texas Rangers. … Pitcher Carlos Villanueva and the Chicago Cubs have completed a $10 million, two-year contract. … A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Jhoulys Chacin and the Colorado Rockies have agreed to a $6.5 million, two-year contract. … Reliever Matt Lindstrom and the Chicago White Sox have finalized a $2.8 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2014. … Craig Breslow’s two-year contract with the Boston Red Sox calls for the left-hander to receive at least $6.25 million.