Frank Thomas suing Reebok over retro ‘Big Hurt’ sneakers


Chicago White Sox legend Frank Thomas is suing one of his former endorsement partners. Reebok released a “Big Hurt” retro sneaker last year. According to TMZ, Thomas claims he was never made aware that the sports apparel company was going to use his name for another product.

Thomas says he was signed with Reebok from 1995-1998, when his original “Big Hurt” trademark was used on a variety of Reebok products. However, Reebok reportedly did not seek his permission when resurrecting the trademark in 2013.

Thomas believes the release of the shoe makes it seem like he signed off on the product, when in reality he did not see any of the profits. He is asking a judge to block Reebok from continuing to sell the sneakers and also to pay him damages and any profit the company made from the “Big Hurt” retros.

You can understand why Thomas, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in January, is upset if Reebok never spoke to him. Signing an endorsement deal for three years in the 1990s does not give a company permission to produce new products using your trademark 15 years later.

Frank Thomas: ‘I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs’

Frank-ThomasFrank Thomas was one of the largest, most dominant sluggers in MLB history. The Big Hurt belted 521 home runs during his 19-year career, and his recent induction into the Hall of Fame proves that the general consensus is that Thomas did it cleanly. During a recent interview with Jim Rome on Showtime, he spoke about how obvious it was that guys like Sammy Sosa were cheating.

“I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs,” Thomas said. “Sammy Sosa was my teammate for three years coming up. Watching his career and watching him grow up, the first few years he was capable of only between 25 and 27 home runs at the most.”

When healthy, Thomas always hit somewhere in the vicinity of 25 to 40 home runs per season. He maintained those numbers from the second season of his career all the way through his last full season with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2007, when he belted 26 home runs.

From 1997 to 1998, Sosa jumped from 36 to 66 home runs. Thomas’ numbers remained consistent.

“There’s no way he doubled me up, that’s all I could think,” Thomas said. “There’s no way Sammy doubled me up. Mark McGwire you really had to take a look at, because Mark McGwire hit 48 home runs as a rookie. At that point you start saying well maybe the extreme workaholic he was in the weight room — you could close the gap easier from 48 to 70 than from 25 to 60.”

Sosa’s name was included in a New York Times report from 2009 claiming he tested positive for steroids during the 2003 season. We all know the story with McGwire. Thomas, on the other hand, has never been linked to steroids by any credible source. That’s something he deserves to take pride in.

Frank Thomas Gets Statue in Chicago

The White Sox are treating Frank Thomas right in his retirement. Last year they retired his jersey at the Cell in Chicago, leading to an emotional speech from The Big Hurt. This year they decided to give him a bronze statue in the left field concourse. Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Nellie Fox and Luis Aparicio (together), Billy Pierce and Harold Baines also have statues in the same area.

Thomas thanked his teammates, coaches, family, the fans, and the White Sox organization for assisting in his career during his speech. He didn’t get as emotional as he did last year, but he was no less thankful. He also cleared things up by saying there are no issues between him and owner Jerry Reinsdorf (as had been suggested many times in the past).

Here’s a video of the ceremony courtesy of CSN Chicago:

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Frank Thomas Gets Emotional at White Sox Jersey Retirement Ceremony

Frank Thomas is a man who means a lot to the city of Chicago–especially if you are a White Sox fan. On Sunday, his former team honored him by hosting “Frank Thomas Day” at U.S. Cellular Field before the finale of a three game series against the Yankees. The Sox retired Thomas’ number and unveiled his picture in the outfield.  I’ve never had my number retired, but I imagine it’s an emotional day for a player who is getting one of the highest honors that a former team can provide. They are forever immortalizing you in their organization and I see it as the biggest way a team can say “thank you.”

This isn’t the first time this year we’ve seen emotional speeches in Chicago. Lou Piniella gave an emotional retirement speech a week ago and Jeremy Roenick welled up after the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup victory. If you missed it, here’s the Big Hurt’s speech from U.S. Cellular Field:

I don’t believe anyone can judge Thomas or any other athlete for getting emotional at something this important in their career. In fact, every time I’ve witnessed emotional speeches like these, it reminds me that these guys are just human after all. As a Sox fan, I got emotional watching Thomas’ speech and I’d like to say thank you to the Big Hurt for all the amazing talent and passion he brought to our team. I don’t think anybody deserves it more.

White Sox honor all-time great Frank Thomas [CSN Chicago]

Maybe Frank Thomas Is an ‘I Guy’

I’m really shocked at what transpired over the weekend between Frank Thomas and the Blue Jays. On Saturday, the Big Hurt was informed he would be benched for the game and that he would be sharing at-bats at the DH position over the rest of the season. Needless to say, Thomas was not wild about splitting time, not just because it wouldn’t allow him to produce, but also because it would keep him from reaching a $10 million option which kicks in for 2009 if he reached 376 plate appearances. After doing some bitching and not shaking hands with teammates following Saturday’s win, many people woke up to the news that the Blue Jays had released the troubled slugger on Sunday. There’s a lot to be said about this subject, and most of it won’t be easy considering how complimentary I was of Thomas recently.

From Toronto’s perspective, even if they wanted to switch up the DH position and platoon Matt Stairs with Thomas for financial reasons, it was completely within their right to do so. Remember, the problem only began because Frank wasn’t hitting up to snuff. Had Frank’s production been better, the Blue Jays would only be too happy to play him every day and pay for his option in 2009. But considering Frank wasn’t doing too well, it’s completely within their right to change it up and throw someone else out there who might produce a bit — they’re trying to win games.

Now from Frank’s perspective, I understand where he’s pissed. If he were just being benched for one day, then that’s reasonable. But if he was told he’d be sitting on a regular basis, then yeah, that appears to be a financially motivated move that would upset me. If you’re a ballplayer, particularly a proven one who’s struggling, you’re not going to break out of a slump by riding pine — you need to get more at-bats. It’s no wonder Frank wants more at-bats, so I can understand why he’d be upset. But here’s the thing: some guys take these moves like team players, and some take them selfishly. Since it’s a business, I have no problem with Frank wanting to represent his best interests of seeking playing time elsewhere. At the same time, it’s also a team sport, which makes Frank a bad teammate who is unwilling to make the most of his situation and help his club. Now I think I know what Kenny Williams was talking about when he called out Frank. Thomas is a great player, but he seems like a poor teammate.

Frank Thomas Did Not do Steroids or HGH

With the Mitchell Report out and much of the congressional hearings over, it has come to our attention that Blue Jays DH Frank Thomas was the only active player to speak to Senator Mitchell while the investigation was being conducted. Even though the Union isn’t happy about that, I am, and so is Frank. The Big Hurt had some pretty strong words to defend his choice to speak with Mitchell:

For me, I’ve always been my own man. No one’s going to tell me not to talk to anyone, especially when I’ve got nothing to hide.

“There were a lot of guys who wanted to speak out,” Thomas said. “I’m glad I did speak out, because if I didn’t I would’ve been on that list of ‘Wouldn’t talk to George Mitchell.’ That would’ve put a stain on my career and I’m not going to let anyone stain my career.”

“It’s obvious now that there were a lot of guys involved with steroids and HGH. I’m shocked, because I played in that era and had to compete against it. But I’m shocked there were so many guys involved.”

I like everything about what Frank said. I’m glad he spoke out because he faced the man straight up, and there’s no better way to prove you have nothing to hide than meeting with the man face-to-face. It’s also pleasing because now we have at least one stud from the 90s that we can say did it cleanly without a question or hint of doubt. Much like PostmanR who directed my attention to the story, this makes me happy as a guy who’s always liked the Big Hurt.