In 1991 a player named Jim Thome began his Major League Career in Cleveland. Since that time, Thome’s career took him to Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and now on the cusp of 600 home runs, Minnesota. Thome’s career spans two decades. In many ways, he is a quiet giant of the game. Let us profile the player by the numbers.
Thome is a career .277 hitter with 2,257 hits. He sits on 598 homers as of the writing of this post. Thome will join the 600 HR Club but will he join the Hall of Fame? As his career statistics currently stand, I say yes, he should go into the Hall.
His career OPS is .961. He’s a five-time all-star. In 2002 he lead the AL in slugging with a .677 percentage. What is most interesting to this blogger: Thome has built a career in a seemingly quiet manner compared to his contemporaries.
To me Thome has consistently maintained an image of the hard-nosed worker. He comes in, he gets his work in, and that’s it. Thome is not loud or over-the-top. He’s a ball player. While Mark McGuire, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa were putting on spectacular home run derby’s, Thome was simply doing his job. Example, in 1998 when McGuire broke the single-season home run record, Thome hit 30 of his own. When Bonds surpassed McGuire in 2001, Thome hit 49.
I would like to think the 40-year-old Thome has a few more years left, but we can never know with athletes. Regardless of what he does after 2011, I’m glad to see this giant of the game enter the 600-Club.
There is one problem for Thome. His career primarily spanned the Steroid Era. I do not know how the writers will view Thome’s career within the scope of this generation. Thome is not one of the names listed in the Mitchell Report. However, his slugging and home run numbers may give pause to some Hall of Fame voters.
In the end, I believe Thome will be a Hall of Famer. I would suspect his 600-plus homers would make him a first ballot inductee. Good luck Jim, and thanks for the show.
All statistical data compiled from baseball-reference.com.