Frank Thomas puts Mike Rizzo on baseball map

In 1989, Mike Rizzo was a Midwest and Southeast territorial scout for the White Sox. That year, Rizzo, then 28, scouted a player named Frank Thomas from Auburn University.

Rizzo insisted that the White Sox draft the right-handed hitting slugger in the first round, but Thomas was not a consensus pick among members of the organization

“I learned how to go after a player passionately, fight for your player and fight to draft the right guy at the right spot,” Rizzo said 20 years later.

The White Sox ended up drafting Thomas in the first round of the 1989 First-Year Player Draft. Not too long after that, Rizzo helped Chicago negotiate Thomas’ first professional contract.It was the first time Rizzo ever dealt with a player agent for such a large sum of money.

Thomas signed and ended up having a great career in the big leagues, hitting .301 with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs and two American League MVP awards.

“It was the shinning point of my career.” Rizzo said. 

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