The Big Hurt sends love to his doctors
When slugger Frank Thomas stepped to the lectern during his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he had a lot of people to thank—138 to be exact. But along with the expected targets of gratitude (family, teammates, coaches), the Chicago White Sox star known as the Big Hurt sent some love to the ones who kept him on his often-injured feet.
“I want to have a special thanks to all my doctors. I couldn’t include all of you today, but a few of you, I’d like to say, thanks again.”
He named sports medicine specialist Dr. James Boscardin, White Sox team physician Dr. Scott Price, White Sox team podiatrist Dr. Lowell Weil Sr. and Oakland Athletics team physician Dr. Elliott Schwartz. Thomas also gave a shoutout to an orthopedic surgeon he credited with helping him hit the last 69 of his career 521 home runs by fixing a broken bone in his foot.
“I have to say one special thank you to Dr. Richard Ferkel,” Thomas said. “You repaired my navicular fracture when everyone said I was done. I was sitting at 452 home runs and you looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to get you back on the field.’ You never doubted putting me back there and you helped me finish my career. And getting to Cooperstown, I never thought it would happen.”
In a news release, Weil’s son, Dr. Lowell Weil Jr., ran down a list of Thomas’ foot problems, including a bone spur “half the size of a golf ball in the front of his ankle,” a tarsal coalition (also known as “flat foot”), hallux rigidus (aka “stiff big toe”), a metatarsal stress fracture, navicular fracture, posterior tibial tendonitis and ingrown toenails.
On top of his 521 career home runs, Thomas also drew 1,667 walks, the 10th most in Major League Baseball history. Considering how his feet must have ached, that’s a feat that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Thomas gave an emotional speech during his Hall of Fame induction.