"I don't think it's ever going to be over," the future Hall of Famer told me Wednesday before the Cubs-Sox series finale at U.S. Cellular Field. "There always are going to be some guys who are going to push it to the limit, who really want to go to another level.
Retired sluggers such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa have been linked to performance enhancing drugs. Not to mention current star Alex Rodriguez. And Cy Young Award winning pitcher Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges related to steroid use this week and was mentioned in MLB's Mitchell Report concerning steroid abuse in 2007.
"After all of the evidence came out, there were just as many pitchers involved as hitters," Thomas said. "It was a bad, ugly time. It was a black eye for baseball, but the game has moved on. They have stressed the testing now to the point of no return. They really want to get that out in the past."
The Hall of Fame fate of the steroid-users remains uncertain.
"It's going to be tough, man. It's going to be really, really tough," Thomas said. "But two guys to single out are Bonds and Clemens. I played in an era with those guys and I know how great they were.
"I know exactly when something changed, but for those two guys, when it changed, I think they already were Hall of Famers.
That's a real sad thing. I really believe both of those guys were Hall of Famers before they (may have been) involved in something else."
'72 salute: Dick Allen and Rich "Goose" Gossage are scheduled to sign autographs 6 p.m. Sunday at 94 West Steak and Seafood in Orland Park, as part of the Chicago Baseball Museum's month-long tribute to the 1972 White Sox.
They will be joined by Hank Allen, Bart Johnson and Jay Johnstone, as well as former general manager Roland Hemond.
"The addition of Dick Allen added a lot of credit, not only to the lineup, but to us as a team," former Sox third baseman Bill Melton said of that '72 team. "Primarily on a national basis, people started paying attention. That's the interest that Dick Allen brings because he was a pretty special player. There are only two guys I would stop, even if the score was 10-1, to watch hit — Frank Thomas and Dick Allen."
Allen often was portrayed during his career as moody and petulant. But Melton painted a different picture of Allen.
"Couldn't ask for a better teammate," Melton said. "Bright man. … A lot of times when Dick didn't come out to take batting practice, it wasn't because he didn't want to do it, because he had a lot of fun on the baseball field. He just wanted us to get all of the attention.
"That's the way he thought. He'd never say it. But we would always ask him, 'Why don't you come out and hit?' One time he hit left-handed (in batting practice) and hit home runs."