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Fox News Apologizes for Erroneous Inclusion of Living MLB Legend Frank Thomas in 'In Memoriam' Segment

Published December 31, 2023
7 months ago

In an unfortunate mix-up that sent shock waves across the sports world, Fox News mistakenly declared Chicago White Sox icon Frank Thomas deceased during their "In Memoriam" segment, only to issue a prompt correction following the error. The segment, which aired earlier this morning, displayed images of the Hall of Famer hitting a home run and a caption highlighted his name with the years "1968-2023," insinuating his passing.

However, the Frank Thomas who had recently passed away on January 16, 2023, was a different MLB player who was a three-time All-Star with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The network's mistake stemmed from incorrectly identifying the two individuals, who share the same name but had very different careers in Major League Baseball.

The apology from Fox News came swiftly, with the anchor rectifying the error on air. They acknowledged the blunder and clarified that Frank Thomas, affectionately known as "The Big Hurt," who made his name with the White Sox beginning in 1990, was indeed "very much alive."

The legendary hitter himself was quick to respond to the error. Frank Thomas, a former Fox Sports MLB analyst who parted ways with the network in 2023, expressed his dismay on social media. He labeled the mistake as "irresponsible" and reassured fans of his well-being alongside a light-hearted photo.

With a celebrated career that concluded after the 2009 season, Frank Thomas left an indelible mark on MLB. He amassed 521 home runs, secured two AL MVP awards, and was honored with Hall of Fame induction in his first year of eligibility, boasting an 83.7% vote from the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). Following his playing days, Thomas stepped into a broadcasting role, which saw him transition from Fox to making appearances on Apple TV+ after the network chose Derek Jeter as his replacement.

The elder Frank Thomas, whose career spanned from 1951 to 1966, retired two years before the birth of the famed White Sox slugger. The late Frank Thomas was known for his stints with seven MLB teams and his flexible playing positions, notably part of the New York Mets' inaugural roster.

Fox News' gaffe highlights the importance of rigorous fact-checking, particularly when reporting on sensitive matters such as obituaries. While an apology has been issued and accepted, the incident serves as a reminder of the far-reaching consequences that small errors can have in the media industry, as well as the enduring legacy of the athletes who have left their mark on Major League Baseball.

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