FRANK THOMAS: I know it's not
personal, but Magglio and I went down pretty much
the same row with the White Sox. It was great.
We went to different teams and we've done a great
job for our new teams. It's kind of funny that we're
facing off in the ALCS.
I think early in 2000 and 2003 when
the A's didn't make it past the first round, I
always thought they needed that veteran
leadership in the clubhouse. Did you feel you
were going to contribute in that way?
FRANK THOMAS: I knew I could. My
goal when I first got here was not to be a
distraction. My goal was to come in and fit in and
be a good teammate to these guys and help them
get to the next level. This has been a great
eye-opening experience this year for me with this
club because you've got a bunch of guys that are
so loose having fun, but when we get between the
lines it's all about business.
When you talk about that veteran
leadership, what is it that you bring? Is it you
talking to young players about game situations,
about their approach when they go to the
plate? What is the most important thing that
you've brought when it comes to maybe stuff
off the field?
FRANK THOMAS: I think it's been more
of a working attitude that I brought. From day one I
pretty much tried to outwork everybody day in and
day out. The guys have seen me work; he's nuts,
he's working out again. That's been my attitude all
year long is just to keep that type of visual for the
guys about it's all about hard work.
As for helping guys through tough times,
I've always done that. I've helped a lot of guys this
year, which is a good thing. This club has made
itself because guys have been dedicated from day
one that we wanted to make something happen
this year and show people that we're a good ball
Everybody knows there was a
somewhat uncomfortable departure from
Chicago, but it seems like you've really enjoyed
playing here. Is this the -- how long has it been
since you've had a season that was this much
fun for you?
FRANK THOMAS: You know, it's been a
lot of fun this year. Don't get me wrong, I've had
fun in the past. But I never knew what to expect
from change. The change this year has been
great for me. It's been wonderful. It's just
motivated me to play at a high level again and also
just to prove a lot of people wrong because I've
always been that type of player that I've always
played better with my back against the wall. This
has been a great thing for us. Hopefully we enjoy
it all and we can take this to another level.
It seems like you have a renewed
sense of purpose and love for the game.
Playing with a bunch of young guys like that,
has that been a big part of that, or is it being
FRANK THOMAS: First it's been health,
second it's been being around a bunch of guys --
I've never seen anything like this all year long, but
they've been so consistent with it. These guys are
nuts, a lot of fun. There's a looseness in the
clubhouse that I've never felt before, and it's been
great for me.
I can't imagine the frustration of
being on the sidelines while your team goes
and wins the World Series, so just simply,
what's it like to be healthy after all you've been
FRANK THOMAS: Well, I guess I got a
year of experience last year by watching. Yeah,
I've definitely been that veteran in the clubhouse
right now telling guys, hey, this is step one, this is
step two. I saw it unfolding underneath my eyes
It's just one of those things that I'm very
happy to be here this round as a player, and I've
fought so many years to get here. It just seems
really weird that it happened the first year I go to a
new team. It's been a special year. Hopefully this
will continue because it's been one hell of a ride so
As happy as you were for your
teammates last year, did you ever wonder if
you'd ever get to be physically involved in such
a stage like you are right now?
FRANK THOMAS: I never wondered. I
told people last year I'll be ready to go next year.
My goal was to come back and have a huge year
for the White Sox this year and try for a repeat.
Being released, I still had the same goal in mind, to
come out and have one hell of a year, and I have.
Given the parallels between you and
Magglio, is it at least assurance if you don't
make it to the World Series that Magglio will be
FRANK THOMAS: It's been great. We
text each other all the time. We've stayed friends
along the way. I'm very happy for him because he
is a special player. It's one of those things, you
don't look back, but we're both happy we've moved
on in great situations.
I know that you probably never
questioned that you would still be a productive
player after coming back from the injury, but
have you exceeded what you thought you
might do this season with the way that you've
FRANK THOMAS: No. I just think I've
had an average year when I'm healthy. I mean,
that's where I've been my whole career.
Average-wise, I think I've been down. But as for
production, I'm right where I normally -- my
numbers are right where they're normally at for a
full season for me.
As someone who's been in baseball
as long as you have, in the majors, the loss of
the Yankees, does that surprise you at all? So
much was made about the best team that
money can buy, and then they were out so
FRANK THOMAS: It's surprising to me
because they had so many great starters on that
team. If you look at that team, the way it's put
together for the playoffs, it wasn't a team that
played together all year long. Then didn't have
that camaraderie, that chemistry that's part of a
clubhouse like ours. But they had an unbelievable
lineup of great players. But with all the injuries
they had, they tried to put everybody back together
and go for a playoff run and it just didn't work out
Have you ever faced a guy that
throws as hard as Zumaya?
FRANK THOMAS: I've faced him already
a couple times already this year.
This guy is a special pitcher. He throws
103 miles an hour sometimes, but he locates very
well. Most guys who throw that hard, you can
forget about location, but he can locate.
Verlander is the same way. The first
couple times we faced him he was hitting pretty
much 100 every time.
Yeah, there are two pitchers that are very,
very special. It's going to take one hell of an effort
to beat those guys because when they're throwing
lights out -- you saw it against the Yankees,
Zumaya, when he throws his pitches it's very
difficult to hit pitches against him.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.