Frank the Tank

Sure, it’s unimaginative. But really, if anyone named ‘Frank’ should, in fact, be given the handle ‘The Tank’, it has to be 6-foot-5, 275-pound Frank Thomas. Plus, he’s lived up to the title during his career, amassing 487 home runs in 17 big league seasons entering the 2007 campaign. Unfortunately, however, the Blue Jays have yet to see the Thomas they hoped for (especially after shelling out $18-million for a two-year contract in the off-season). The behemoth is off to a slow start, batting .239/.352/.396 with five home runs and 17 RBIs entering action Monday night.

On the bright side, Thomas has played in each of the team’s 38 games this year. In fact, only second baseman Aaron Hill can say the same. However, this also means that he’s had ample opportunity to find his power stroke. But find it, he hasn’t. In fact, entering Monday night’s contest, Thomas was averaging just one home run for every 31.8 plate appearances this year (5 HR, 159 PA). Aside from his 60-game rookie campaign, Thomas has posted a lower average just once during his career; in 1999, when he went deep once every 39.33 PA’s (though he still managed to hit .305 with a .415 on-base percentage that season). For his career, the 38-year-old slugger has managed one homer for every 18.8 plate appearances (487 HR, 9161 PA).

Only two players in franchise history have posted a better mark while wearing a Blue Jay uniform (and accumulating at least 1,000 plate appearances in the process). Surprisingly, with a rate of one homer per 17.91 PA’s, Carlos Delgado is No. 2 on the list. The leader? Tony Batista, who managed a home run every 17.05 plate appearances during his three seasons in Toronto. Here is the top 10 (again, minimum 1,000 PA’s):

1. Tony Batista (17.05)
2. Carlos Delgado (17.91)
3. Fred McGriff (18.58)
4. Raul Mondesi (21.42)
5. Jesse Barfield (21.61)
6. Brad Fullmer (21.94)
7. Joe Carter (22.14)
8. John Mayberry (22.85)
9. Josh Phelps (22.89)
10.Shawn Green (23.24)

In terms of total home runs, George Bell, of course, was the franchise leaderCarlos_delgado_1 with 202 when he left Toronto after the 1990 season. However, he would be overtaken on September 25, 1997 when Joe Carter — in his final week as a Blue Jay — belted his 203rd homer in a Toronto uniform during a 4-3 win over the Orioles at SkyDome.

Once again though, this record was destined to be broken. And the man who batted fourth for the Blue Jays in that September, 1997 contest would be the one to do it. Indeed, Carlos Delgado claimed the record for himself on May 11, 2001 — less than four years later. But Delgado didn’t stop there. After finishing the ’01 campaign with 39 long balls, the slugging first baseman compiled 107 more in his final three seasons as a Blue Jay, finishing with 336 during his tenure in Toronto.

Third baseman Troy Glaus delivers a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning Monday night to lead the Blue Jays to a 5-3 victory, their third in four contests … For the record, Glaus is averaging a home run every 15.93 plate appearances (45 HR, 717 PA) since joining the Jays last season … Jeremy Accardo nails down his second straight save, while Casey Janssen picks up the win, lowering his season ERA to 0.93 in the process … Jesse Litsch will make his Major League debut tomorrow for Toronto in Game 2 of this series …

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