Statue day

Frank Thomas' statue at U.S. Cellular Field. (José M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune / July 31, 2011)

Frank Thomas, considered the best hitter in White Sox history, gave a smiling approval for his statue that was unveiled on the left field concourse at U.S. Cellular Field Sunday.

The likeness has Thomas on the follow-through of a one-handed swing.

“I love it,” he said. “They even got my nose right. I’ve been hearing about my nose for so many years and Ozzie (Guillen) was riding me the other day, saying they used a lot of clay on that nose.

“(The statue) looks very realistic and I’m proud of it. Most guys are dead and gone before they (do) something like this. I’m honored and very very proud.”

He was a career .301 hitter with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBI and 1,494 runs scored over his 19 seasons. He broke in with the White Sox in 1990 and had an injury-shortened final season with them in 2005 when they won the World Series.

"For a big guy, most guys are free swingers, but he just had a great eye," said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, a former teammate. "That was probably the one thing over his whole career you could say -- he just always was dialed in on what he was looking for. He never expanded out of that too much. To me, that was always the thing that stuck out as far as when he was up there hitting.

"He wasn't just a big guy that was strong. That was the last piece of the puzzle. He was a really good hitter mechanically, approach-wise, all that stuff. And on top of that, he happened to be a big, strong guy."

His No. 35 was retired in August of last year. He joins Charles Comiskey, Minnie Minoso, Carlton Fisk, Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Billy Pierce and Harold Baines with statutes at U.S. Cellular Field.

dvandyck@tribune.com

Twitter @davandyck

Tribune News Services contributed