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BASEBALL EXTRA | AROUND THE LEAGUE

Thomas' .347 Mark Lands Batting Title

September 29, 1997|From Associated Press

Chicago White Sox first baseman Frank Thomas, who has already won two AL most-valuable-player awards, added his first batting title, finishing the season with a league-leading .347 average despite going 0 for 4 in Sunday's victory over the Kansas City Royals.

"It's something I've always wanted to accomplish," Thomas said. "Finishing the year 0 for 10 is not something I wanted to do, but I was pressing a little this whole weekend," Thomas said after getting no hits in the final series of the season.

Thomas has hit at least .300 with 20 homers, 100 runs batted in, 100 runs and 100 walks for seven consecutive seasons, a major league record.

He become the first White Sox player to win a batting title since Luke Appling in 1943. He also had 35 homers and 125 RBIs.

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The end of the White Sox season also marked shortstop Ozzie Guillen's final appearance with the team after 13 seasons and may have also been the last game for Manager Terry Bevington, whose job status is unclear following an 80-81 season.

"I haven't thought about it because I have a contract," Bevington said.

The team is expected to make an announcement on Bevington's job status by Wednesday.

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Minnesota's Paul Molitor said he might have played his last game. "That's why my family was here," said Molitor, who batted above .300 for the 12th time in his career. "Just in case." Molitor, 12th on the all-time list with 3,178 hits, tied Lou Brock for 13th with his 10,332nd at-bat in the sixth inning. . . . Despite leading Oakland to the worst record in the major leagues (65-97), Manager Art Howe and his coaches will return for a third season. . . . Lee Elia, bench coach and hitting instructor for Manager Lou Piniella in Seattle the past five seasons, has informed the team he won't be back with the Mariners next year because he wants to be closer to his family in Odessa, Fla.

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