After being one of the premier home run hitters in MLB history for 22-years, Jim Thome has been awarded the highest honor a Major Leaguer can garner after his career is over, and has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
Thome will join Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, and Trevor Hoffman in the loaded 2018 Hall of Fame class, and Thome was the second highest vote recipient with 89.8% of the votes, trailing Chipper Jones (97.2%).
In his Hall of Fame career, Thome amassed a whopping 612 home runs, which is good enough for 8th All-Time, along with 72.9 WAR, 1583 runs, 2,328 hits, 1,699 RBI (26th All-Time), and a .956 OPS (18th All-Time). Thome hit 30 or more home runs in 13 of his 22 years in the Majors while compiling 1,747 Walks (7th All-Time) and 147 OPS+ during his career (100 OPS+ is league average).
In his 22 MLB seasons, Thome has played for 6 different teams, playing 13-years for the Cleveland Indians, 4-years with the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-years with the Chicago White Sox, 2-years with the Minnesota Twins, and one year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles. In his 13-years with the Cleveland Indians, Thome led them to 6 playoff appearances and a World Series appearance in 1995.
“This is a day I don’t think any player can ever imagine happening,” Thome said. “It’s a special day in all of our lives.”
In addition, Jim Thome was not only known as a great slugger but also as a very good and genuine guy. Thome was beloved by all of his teammates throughout his career, and former teammate Sandy Alomar Jr. said this following Thome’s election.
“You know how there’s a saying about good guys finish last?” Alomar said. “I’m so glad that a great, genuine person like Jim Thome is in the Hall of Fame. He was such a hard worker and a great teammate. He’s the most genuine guy I’ve ever seen. It’s good to see people like that reach their goals and the Hall of Fame. And also have a guy from those ’90s Indians to be in it. We had such great teams in that era.”
Now, Thome will not just be known as a prolific home run hitter that carried the hapless Cleveland Indians to a World Series appearance in 1995, he will now be remembered as one of the greatest hitters and people to put on a Major league uniform with a plaque in Cooperstown forever.`