You can read an old post I write about here or read what I wrote below:
Today, on July 31, 2011, Minnesota Twins DH Jim Thome hit his 597th home run. It is likely that he will hit his 600th career home run later this year. Maybe this post is more appropriate when Thome does end up getting three more dingers, but I'm bored right now and I want to make sure this post gets written as opposed to me wanting to write it but then claim I am too busy when that 600th hit comes.
Even though I am a White Sox fan and Thome only played four seasons on The South Side as opposed to 12 with a ChiSox inter division rival (the Indians), I will always love Jim Thome as a baseball fan. It also helps that I really only started getting into baseball in 2005.
The reason for this post is because I feel Thome gets no love. It doesn't help that he played the vast majority of his career in small markets. Cleveland will never get the kind of love on ESPN that Boston or New York gets. He played four seasons on the less covered Chicago team and is currently on his second season for the Twinkies in Minnesota. That is 18 out of his 21 year career on a non-major market team.
Everyone makes the biggest stink in the world about A-Rod's 600th home run and the overrated Derek Jeter's 3,000th hit but when a guy like Jim Thome has a countdown to a monumental feat, nobody (and by nobody I mean ESPN) seems to care.
However, Thome is one of the greatest offensive players of his generation. He played for that great Indians line up in the 90's that included greats like Albert Belle, Manny, Kenny Lofton, and Omar Vizquel. That line up was like the modern day Big Red Machine or the precursor to this 2011 Boston Beast.
For right now, I would like to take a look at Thome's career stats and just stare at awe and wonder at them and hope he gets your respect (if he hasn't already) that he deserves. Thome has a career .277 batting average to go along with his career .403 on base and .960 career OPS (for those of you who can not or do not want to do the math, that is a career .557 SLG).
Thome's 597 home runs are good for 8th best all time and is the 5th best player in history with a 13.8 at-bat per home run.
And Jim Thome did all of this in the steroid era without any whiff or hint that he ever took performance-enhancing drugs.
One last thing / anecdote before I leave. I was watching a White Sox game in 2006 when the camera panned to a young male fan in the stands holding up a sign. The sign read: "My mom thinks Scottie's [Scott Podsednik] a hottie but Thome's my homey" I feel like that's the kind of guy Thome was. He was a guy everyone loved. When Sox GM Kenny Williams shipped Thome off to the Dodgers in 2009, he convinced everyone in Chicago that this was best for the guy and we all seemed to like the move, even though it hurt the team in the long run. Thome had a much better chance at winning a title with playoff bound L.A. as opposed to the struggling White Sox. Even though Thome could and still can produce, we all just wanted what was best for Jim Thome and we didn't care about our silly ol' team.
*double chest pound with right fist* Props to you Jim Thome. May you get the respect you deserve.