Proclaiming himself “the most misunderstood ballplayer ever” (an honor Mickey Rivers would surely challenge), A’s DH Frank Thomas opens up to Inside Bay Area’s Dave Newhouse.

Q. How exactly have you’ve been misrepresented?

A. I guess my name was big news, and people want big news. They don’t want to talk about 25 players in the locker room. They want to talk about the guy who goes out night in and night out and makes things happen. And it’s easy to use my name in stories, and that’s what happened to me in Chicago.

Q. Are you saying that you felt victimized?

A. I’m not perfect. No one is. I’ve probably made two or three critical comments in a 16-year career, but not
that critical. But for years, people will pick on those things and say, “He’s like this” or “He’s like that.” It really sucks. I hate to use that word, but I tell people all the time, “I’ve done everything positive in my life to try and be a role model, but some things you can’t control.”

Q. Just how badly were you stung by White Sox general manager Kenny Williams’ accusation that you were a bad clubhouse influence?

A. I think it was foul, out of line. We definitely didn’t see eye-to-eye. We didn’t like each other. The bottom line is he should have kept it in house and kept behind closed doors. For him to say that nobody missed me, nobody wanted me around, that was a total lie. Maybe he felt that way, but I have some very close friends over there. They couldn’t answer to him because he’s the boss.

Q. How should people judge your character?

A. I’m not a bad person, and I’ve never been a bad person really. I’ve always conducted myself as a quiet guy. Some people think that quiet in a player is standoffish. I’ve always been focused on doing my thing. I’ve always helped guys. but I’ve always tried not doing too much in the locker room, because want guys to be comfortable. I’m sorry if people don’t understand that, but I’ve always been a naturally shy guy.

Thomas will be hitting 5th and facing the Twins’ Brad Radke when Oakland and Minnesota enjoy the spectacular indoor ambience of Metrodome later this evening.