Collectors Still Love the “Big Hurt”

There was a time long ago when baseball belonged to a 260 lb. beast named Frank Thomas. He was the most dominant and feared hitter in all of baseball without the need for Steroids or other enhancements. Before the game became tarnished by ridiculous home run records, the “Big Hurt” was head and shoulders above any slugger.

Before all was said and done, Thomas ended his career with over 500 home runs and a .301 lifetime batting average. Perhaps he hung around a bit too long judging by his final seasons in Toronto and Oakland but no one will ever forget the years Frank won back to back MVP trophies or his torrid 1994 season before baseball went on strike.

As you can imagine, Frank Thomas has some of the most dedicated and loyal collectors who spend most of their times scouring through eBay looking for that next amazing card to add to their collection. Trying to find a nice game-used relic or certified autograph isn’t too hard but it’s those early-year “hits” that collectors really love.

Take for example the 1997 Leaf ‘Thomas Collection’ patch you see below. It’s a beautiful card from the days when Donruss knew what they were doing but it’s not all that impressive. The patch is not really that big and the card is numbered to an astonishingly high (by today’s standards) 100. At the most you’d think it would sell for close to $100, if that.

Here is what the card actually sold for!

13 thoughts on “Collectors Still Love the “Big Hurt”

  1. the “Big Hurt” was and still is one of my favorite players. The way he was at playing football and baseball at Auburn just made him a good natural athlete all around. His numbers were natural and he played for the fun of the game. Definitely a H.O.F.!!!

  2. yeah he was one of the good guys in a game of bad guys.

    to this day I strongly believe thomas, griffey, jeter, and my fav. edgar martinez played the game right from day 1.

    some were shocked when guys like a-rod and manny went down, but they were “me me me” players and that leads to the whatever it takes attitude.

  3. Mario,
    No need to pour salt in my wounds. I thought for sure my snipe would win by $100 or so. Most of the Thomas collectors are also a little shocked at that price. Congrats to the winner; I am jealous.

  4. Hey nice…the “big hurt”. I am an collector from germany (29) who, like Alesandro, started in the early 90’s to collect on a lets say a casual basis, unlike
    mostly the US guys have the opportunity to (in terms of availability of cards, i had one card shop near my hometown and we had to take what was avail there, no ebay or the like by that time). What i wanna say is as player i collected Frank Thomas. I remember when i pulled a Thomas Bowman insert out of a regular Topps pack.
    I thought “omg” that must be a failure and im uber lucky with this…unaware of the connections at that time. 🙂

  5. Guys, give a “clueless” german an heads up on this HOF stuff… How long does it take till a player gets into HOF, who decides that and when?

  6. A player is eligible to enter the Hall of Fame after he’s been retired for five years.

    The Baseball Writers Association of America and the Veteran’s Committee votes on who gets in.

  7. As a self proclaimed Big Hurt “super collector”, I am proud to say I own 4 of these patches.

    I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 1700 individual cards (no duplicates), including 400+ game used/patch cards, 250+ autos and 42 1of 1’s (priniting plates, base variations, refractors, auto’s, patches, etc)

    It never ceases to amaze me how crazy us Big Hurt collectors are. I’ve watched many bid wars for 1/1’s or other crazy looking patch cards go for WAY more then a normal person should be willing to pay. Ive also been that abnormal person winning the auctions, so I guess I cant complain too much.

  8. Two comments:

    – I think it’s foolish to assume that Thomas or any player from his generation was truly “without the need for Steroids or other enhancements”. I think that as time goes by, we’ll realize that very, very few players were not on any form of PEDs.

    – You gotta give credit to Pinnacle for that card as they owned the Donruss and Leaf brands in 1997.

  9. “yeah he was one of the good guys in a game of bad guys.”

    Ozzie Guillen, Kenny Williams, and his White Sox teammates never thought that. In fact, the knock on Frank was that he was more concerned with numbers than winning. Kenny called Thomas out for looking at his box score numbers every day and caring only when his numbers weren’t up to the Big Hurt’s standard.

    He was a good guy just as much as any other self-absorbed star determined to dominate baseball through numbers. It’s a personality trait. Barry Bonds had the same trait. He was so hurt over the fact that McGwire and Sosa were getting all the attention for their ungodly numbers he began using PEDs.

    Frank Thomas was most certainly not one of the “good guys” of the game. That standard should be reserved for the Robin Younts, Jamie Moyers, Mark Graces, and Jim Thomes of the baseball world.

  10. Best rookie card ever: his ’91 Upper Deck “bird flip” card.

    PS I know he had 90 Leaf and Topps

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