James Howard Thome or Jim Thome, as he is popularly known, was born on the 27th of August 1970. He played as first baseman and designated hitter for most part of his outstanding career. He featured for the Cleveland Indians between 1991 and 2002 before going back for a second spell in 2011. He also had two spells with the Philadelphia Phillies between 2003 and 2005 as well as in 2012. He played for the Chicago White Sox between 2006 and 2009, and the LA Dodgers in 2009 before moving to the Minnesota Twins in 2010. Thome played his last MLB season with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012 and is currently a free agent.
Peak of Thome's Career
Thome enjoyed a few good years with the Cleveland Indians as he scored 40 homers in 1997 when the Indians scored 220 in total – a club record. He also recorded 102 RBIs and 120 walks and finished the season as the league leader in both departments. The following three seasons didn't turn out to be too successful for him or his team. He missed many games in the 1998 season due to an injury and ended the campaign with 85 RBIs and 30 homers while recording a batting average of .293. The 1999 season saw him record a batting average of .277, but he scored 33 homers and recorded an RBI of 108. His stats went down in 2000, but his 20th home run in late September was the seventh successive season in which he scored 20-plus home runs.
The 2001 season saw Thome come back strong as he scored 49 homers. He also had 111 walks and 124 RBIs, and was the league leader in strikeouts with 185. His best season was the 2002 campaign which he ended as a league leader in walks, OPS, and slugging percentage with 122, 1.122, and 677 respectively. He scored 52 homers that year – the best in his career and finished second in the American League. His first stint at Cleveland Indians ended with 334 homers – a club record. He then signed for the Phillies in an attempt to win the championship.
In his three years with the Phillies, Thome scored 47, 42, and 7 home runs respectively. His third season marked the beginning of the end of a great career. As age began to catch up with Thome, he started picking up injuries that saw him spend ten different stints in the treatment room. Despite the injuries, he performed exceptionally at the highest level and is considered among the most prolific hitters in history. His distinctive batting stance sets him apart from other legends.
Jim Thome represented the All Star Team on five occasions – from 1997 to 1999, 2004, and 2006. He won the Silver Slugger prize in 1996, the Babe Ruth Award for home runs in 2003, the Roberto Clemente honor in 2002, and the Lou Gehrig Award in 2004. With 612 home runs, Thome is placed seventh on the all-time scorers' chart. He is also the leading home run scorer for the Cleveland Indians. With 1699 RBIs, he is placed 24th on the all-time list. Known for his power hitting, Thome scored forty or more home runs in six separate seasons. His OPS or on-base plus slugging record is .956, placing him 19th on the all-time list.