There were certain guys who, despite being pretty good pitchers, just couldn't get Frank Thomas out with any regularity.
To generate a list of the guys the "Big Hurt" hurt the most, we looked only at pitchers who he faced at least 30 times over his 19-year career, then ranked them by OPS.
Bartolo Colon, Jamie Moyer, Mike Mussina, David Wells, Jack Morris -- those were all very good pitchers. Mussina and Morris may wind up in the Hall of Fame, though both have uphill climbs on the BBWAA ballot and Veterans Committee, respectively. So how did Frank Thomas fare against his fellow Hall of Famers?
He faced six in his career. To the table:
This list will grow in coming years, with Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez virtual locks for induction and John Smoltz and Curt Schilling presenting interesting Cooperstown cases as well. Thomas hit Johnson well (5 HR, 1.017 OPS in 54 plate appearances) though struggled against Martinez (11 K, .083 batting average in 25 PA).
Thomas struggled the most with Martinez, Mariano Rivera (.303 OPS) and Eric Plunk (.269 OPS) among guys he faced at least 20 times in his career. But when asked last week, Thomas pointed to a righty reliever with a nasty slider as the guy who gave him the most fits:
"It would have been Jeff Nelson," Thomas said. "For some reason for me, he could get me out just by walking out of the bullpen. It was pretty bad."
Thomas went 5/31 with six walks, 11 strikeouts and a .469 OPS against the former Mariners and Yankees reliever.