Sunday, February 26, 2006
Angry White Sox GM lashes back at Frank Thomas
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Angry and disgusted with the latest
comments from former slugger Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox
general manager Kenny Williams fired back Sunday, calling the
two-time MVP "an idiot."
"He's an idiot. He's selfish. That's why we don't miss him,"
Williams said, responding to a Thomas interview that appeared in
The Daily Southtown, a newspaper in the Chicago suburb of Tinley
Since signing with the Oakland A's last month, Thomas has made
it clear that he didn't appreciate the way his 16-year run with the
White Sox ended, saying that chairman Jerry Reinsdorf didn't call
him to tell him he wasn't coming back.
The greatest hitter in White Sox history reiterated that point
in his latest interview, touching on several subjects and adding
that he and Williams didn't see eye-to-eye after Williams became GM
following the 2000 season.
At the time, Thomas was unhappy that his next-to-last deal with
the White Sox contained a "diminished skills" clause. He said the
White Sox should have traded him after the playoffs that season.
He also repeated that had he known last fall the team wasn't
going to bring him back -- they later gave him a $3.5 million buyout
-- he wouldn't have participated in a couple of ceremonial functions
during the postseason. Unable to play because of an injury, he
threw out a first pitch during the playoffs. Later he was given the
opportunity to address the crowd at the end of the White Sox's
Williams said he was most irate over Thomas' comments about
"I've got a lot of respect for Jerry Reinsdorf, I do. But I
really thought, the relationship we had over the last 16 years, he
would have picked up the phone to say, `Big guy, we're moving
forward. We're going somewhere different. We don't know your
situation or what's going to happen.' I can live with that, I
really can," Thomas said.
"But treating me like some passing-by-player. I've got no
respect for that."
Thomas said he wasn't bitter or angry and had joined the A's
with an open mind.
But Williams was fed up that Thomas was still making remarks
about his former team and the way he was treated.
"Jerry has done everything over the course of 16 years to
protect that man, to make accommodations for him, concessions for
him. He loaned him money, at times, when he needed money,"
"If he was any kind of a man, he would quit talking about
things in the paper and return a phone call or come knock on
someone's door. If I had the kind of problems evidently he had with
me, I would go knock on his door."
Thomas has been bothered by foot and ankle problems the last two
seasons. He hit .219 with 12 homers in 105 at-bats last season. He
missed the first two months while recovering from surgery on his
left ankle, then broke the ankle in July, ending his season.
When the White Sox re-signed Paul Konerko and traded for Jim
Thome, Thomas' days with his only team were over. He apparently
didn't see it that way. At least not at first, saying he thought he
would get a restructured deal to return. He is 52 homers shy of 500
and a lifetime .307 hitter.
"We don't miss him, by the way," Williams said. "If you go
out there and ask any one of my players or staff members, we don't
"We don't miss his attitude. We don't miss the whining. We
don't miss it. Good riddance. See you later."
Williams said he planned to express his feelings in person to
Thomas when the opportunity presented itself, perhaps this spring.
"I'm a general manager and I'm supposed to be above these
things. But again, when is enough enough?" he said.
"He brought us to this point. So, OK, you want to play this
game? You've got it. You got it. He's the Oakland A's problem right
now. ... He better stay out of our business. He better stay out of
White Sox business."
Manager Ozzie Guillen, a former teammate of Thomas', didn't want
to get involved.
"I won't put my nose in something above me," Guillen said.
"He never mentioned my name and if you don't mention my name, I
try to stay away from every part of the conversation."
Konerko, who has been with the White Sox longer than any player
on the roster after Thomas' departure, said he understood the ties
that Thomas had to his former team after such a long career.
"There are a lot of emotional things involved there," Konerko
said. "Frank is his own man and can do what he wants."