Big Hurt set for big day at U.S. Cellular

Big Hurt set for big day at U.S. Cellular

CHICAGO -- We interrupt the White Sox push to the 2010 postseason to recognize the greatest hitter in franchise history.

Actually, that honor will come for Frank Thomas prior to Sunday's series finale against the Yankees, when the White Sox retire his jersey No. 35 and give him a permanent spot on the U.S. Cellular Field outfield wall.

The two-time American League Most Valuable Player holds 11 franchise records, including his 448 home runs, 1,466 walks, 1,327 runs scored and 1,465 RBIs. Many of his one-time teammates and friends arrived Saturday for the tribute, including Jermaine Dye, Bobby Thigpen, James Baldwin, Ron Karkovice and Bill Simas. More players and dignitaries are expected on Sunday.

"That's a very, very great honor," said White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen of Thomas, who he played with and managed. "When you have something like this done when you're still alive, it's one of the best things that can happen in your career.

"People appreciate the way you play. You want to talk about the White Sox. With all due respect to the people who played here in the past, Frank Thomas has to be No. 1 in my opinion. A lot of great players went through this organization.

"I don't want to say Frank Thomas was the best player, but he was the best hitter in this organization," Guillen said. "The least they can do [for him] is what they are going to do tomorrow."

Guillen said the next picture or honor for Thomas is going to be in Cooperstown as a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

"Of course he deserves to be there, there's no doubt," said Guillen of Thomas, a career .301 hitter with 521 homers.