When it comes to classy baseball players who also manage to pack a mean punch when it comes to delivering hits and home runs, there are few players who can stand next to Jim Thome. The slugger has been in professional baseball since 1991 and even at the age of 41, he continues to be a powerhouse when it comes to slugging homers and is famous for being an all -around nice guy in the clubhouse. However, his career has not been without controversy.
Thome got his start in the major leagues by playing for the Cleveland Indians. He started his career there in 1991, when the Indians were particularly bad. During his run, however, he was one of a few players that, for a time, turned the Cleveland Indians into real contenders for the World Series championship and division winners. When he left Cleveland in 2002 for the Phillies, fans of the Indians felt that was fine, since he was now in the National League and not a potential threat to their team. That changed again when he moved from Philadelphia to Chicago’s south side to play for the Chicago White Sox. Thome found himself booed as he stepped onto the field any time the Sox went to Cleveland.
Despite this, Thome never said a cross word about his fans. He claimed that he understood that some of them were hurt and frustrated. Instead, Thome just lowered his head and continued to rack up impressive numbers. Then he crossed the 600 home run mark, and his status as a future Hall-of-Famer seemed secured. He has been injured in subsequent seasons, but he has always come back and he has always produced.
These days Thome’s batting average is around .277. He has hit 604 home runs while amassing 2,287 hits overall. He also has 1,674 runs batted in.
Fans of Cleveland were delighted in 2011 when Thome came back to the team that helped get him his start. He spent just that one season with the team, but during that time he was honored by the team that gave him his start. It was revealed that a statue of Thome had been commissioned and would stand in the outfield of the stadium. Almost as a way of saying thank-you, Thome even hit a homerun to the spot where the statue will stand during a September game in 2011.
Currently Jim Thome holds a number of records for the Cleveland Indians. He has the most homeruns with 337. He also has the most walks with 1,008. Finally, he holds the record among Indians players with the most strikeouts with 1,400.