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Jim Thome

A photo of Jim Thome.

James Howard "Jim" Thome (born August 27, 1970 in Peoria, Illinois) is a retired Major League Baseball player. His last name is pronounced TOH-mee.

MLB career[]

Cleveland Indians[]

Thome originally played for the Cleveland Indians, joining the team for the first time in 1991 as a third baseman. In 1997, when the Indians traded for Matt Williams, Thome shifted over to first base.

At the plate, Thome began to come into his own by 1995, when he hit 25 home runs and 73 runs batted in with a .314 batting average. Thome then hit 38 home runs in 1996 and 40 in 1997. Thome soon became a prolific home run hitter, once hitting a 511-foot shot at Jacobs Field, the longest home run ever recorded at a Cleveland ballpark. He hit 49 home runs with the Indians in 2001, followed by a career-high 52 homers in 2002.

He has been nicknamed 'The Thomenator'. Wildly beloved by Indians fans, a Cleveland Plain-Dealer fan poll in 2003 named Thome the most popular athlete in Cleveland sports history.

Many Cleveland Indians fans still respect his contributions to our history, respect what he does now (except against the Indians of course), and hope he might still find a way to finish his career as a Cleveland Indian on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Philadelphia Phillies[]

After the 2002 season, Thome was up for free agency. He pursued a contract with the Chicago Cubs, whom he had followed since childhood, but despite Thome's offer to accept a less competitive contract, the organization declined. Instead, Thome accepted a six-year offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Many thought that he would struggle in the National League, facing an entirely new set of pitchers, but Thome proved the critics wrong, hitting 47 home runs in his first season with the Phillies to finish one behind Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt's single-season team record of 48 in 1980.

In 2004, Thome hit his 400th career home run before a home crowd at the brand new Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, surpassing Al Kaline for 37th on the all-time home run list. He ended the 2004 season with 42 homers, giving him 423 for his career, which placed him 35th on the career list.

Injuries caught up with Thome during the first half of the 2005 season, where he hit only .207 with seven home runs and 30 RBI going into the All-Star break. He opted for season-ending surgery in July. Ryan Howard proved to be a very successful replacement at first base in the 2005 season, leading all National League rookies in home runs and winning the NL Rookie of the Year award.

The emergence of Howard made Thome expendable to the Phillies. On November 23, 2005, he was traded to the Chicago White Sox along with $22.0 million. The White Sox sent CF Aaron Rowand and minor league pitching prospects Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Haigwood to Philadelphia in return.

Chicago White Sox[]

Thome flourished in his first season in Chicago. He became the Chicago White Sox's regular designated hitter in April 2006. That month he set the team record for most home runs in the month of April (10), beating Frank Thomas' record by one. He also set a major league record by scoring in each of the White Sox first 17 games. The modern and AL record for consecutive games with a run scored is 18 held by Red Rolfe (1939) and Kenny Lofton (2000). For the season, Thome hit 42 homers, batted in 109 runs, and hit .288. He also struck out 30.0% of the time, the highest percentage in the American League.[1] As a result of his impressive season, Thome was named the American League's Comeback Player of the Year for 2006. Thome received 55,587 votes, leading the American League vote wire to wire.

On April 15, 2007, Thome was one of three White Sox players (also two coaches) who wore jersey number 42 in recognition of the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Major League debut in the White Sox vs. Indians game in Cleveland. Thome pinch-hit for Brian Anderson in the ninth inning and hit an infield single. Alex Cintron, also wearing 42, pinch ran for Thome but did not score. The Indians won 2-1.

As of August 1, 2007, Thome had the highest strikeout percentage in the AL (33.6%).[2]

Baseball and personal life[]

On Mother's Day, May 14, 2006, Thome was one of more than 50 hitters who brandished a pink bat to benefit the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Off the field, Thome is putting all 10 of his nieces and nephews through college. It was reported on ESPN's SportsCenter that shortly after his nephew, Brandon, was paralyzed in a tragic accident, he asked Jim to hit a home run for him; not only did Thome fulfill the request but he hit two homers in the game. In a 2007 poll of 464 Major League Baseball players, he was voted the 2nd most friendly player in a tie with Mike Sweeney.

See also[]

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