BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Former Auburn All-American and National Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas will represent Auburn as a member of the 2023 class of the SEC Baseball Legends, the league office announced Wednesday.
Thomas joins Georgia’s Derek Lilliquist, Kentucky’s Joe Blanton and LSU’s Todd Walker in the 2023 class and becomes Auburn’s third SEC Baseball Legend along with Hal Baird (2013) and Gabe Gross (2016).
After starting his Auburn baseball career in the spring of 1987, Thomas quickly became one of the most feared hitters in the history of the Southeastern Conference, turning in a .359 average with 21 homers and 68 RBI during his freshman season with the Tigers. He went on to lead the league in hitting in each of his final two seasons and completed his Auburn career (1987-89) with a .382 average, 49 homers and 205 RBI, all of which still stand as top-five marks in program history. Thomas was a three-time First Team All-SEC honoree and consensus All-American following his junior season. The Columbus, Ga., native is the only player in program history to win the team Triple Crown twice, and he led the team in home runs and RBI in each of his three seasons.
Thomas was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the seventh overall pick in the 1989 MLB Draft and embarked on a 19-year big league career with a White Sox (1990-2005), Oakland Athletics (2006, ’08) and Toronto Blue Jays (2007-08). A two-time American League MVP, four-time Silver Slugger and five-time All-Star, Thomas took the MLB by storm in his first full season in 1991, starting a span of seven straight seasons with 20-plus homers, 100 RBI, 100 walks and a .300 average. No other player in baseball history has accomplished that feat.
After concluding his MLB career with a .301 average, 2,468 hits, 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI, 1,494 runs scored and a .419 on-base percentage, Thomas was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2014. He still stands as the first and only SEC baseball player in the Hall of Fame.
The legends class will be recognized at the 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament, which will take place May 23-28 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.