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Big Hurt lives dream

Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas will be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. (Associated Press)
Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas will be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame today. (Associated Press)

When Frank Thomas was making a name for himself in the major leagues and drawing comparisons to all-time greats such as Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig, it was up to his dad to tell him just to be himself.

The Hall of Fame was just a dream back then, but Frank Thomas Sr. and the man they called the Big Hurt talked about it from time to time.

“He was always telling me: ‘Don’t believe that hype, don’t get caught up in that press. I’ve seen so many great ballplayers get that press and they go south. Just stay focused, leave the press alone.’ ” Thomas said.

Thomas didn’t let the team down often in his White Sox career, and the results of that hard work and superb offensive numbers led to Cooperstown, where he will be inducted today into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

While Thomas sometimes made it look easy, there was no doubting his determination. He used every slight to his advantage, whether it was not being drafted out of high school, losing out to drug-tainted sluggers in MVP races or watching other stars zoom past him on the list of top salaries.

The bigger the numbers he put up, the more Thomas was consumed by being recognized as the best hitter in the game. He often was seen poring over stat sheets in the clubhouse and at his locker, and he always seemed to know his exact numbers.

“Yeah, I did, but that was part of the game,” Thomas said. “I did that because I wanted to be great, man. I wanted to know what other guys were doing, the guys who were in that elite level.

“I wanted to challenge them every day, and I knew if I played at that level, we were going to win a lot of ballgames.”

Giants deal for Peavy

San Francisco boosted its rotation for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander Jake Peavy from the Red Sox for a pair of minor league pitchers.

The Giants received cash from Boston and are sending right-hander Heath Hembree and lefty Edwin Escobar to Boston.

Clearing the bases

The Mets have placed relief pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. … The Baseball Hall of Fame has reduced the number of years a player can remain eligible to be voted in by the writers to 10 years from 15, giving Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens less time to be considered. … Joe Garagiola, Roger Angell and Eric Nadel were honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual awards ceremony.

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