Jim Thome Biography
Jim Thome is a former American professional baseball player who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball. Thome was born on August 27, 1970 in Peoria, Illinois.
Thome, mostly known for his Cleveland Indians playing days, spanned six different teams during his 22 seasons. Those teams are made up of, in chronological order, the Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles.
Jim’s professional playing days started in 1989 where Thome was drafted by the Cleveland Indians out of Illinois Central College in the 13th Round.
The future slugger’s first minor league season didn’t go too well, sporting a .237 batting average with no home runs. After future manager and mentor Charlie Manuel got a hold of Thome and broke down his swing, Thome came back swinging in 1990 putting up a batting average of .340 while adding 16 home runs and 50 runs-batted-in (RBI.)
After his breakout 1990 minor league season, Thome flew through the Indians’ farm system and on September 4, 1991, he made his Cleveland Indians debut against the Minnesota Twins. He would start at third base, which would be his position until 1997, and recorded a two for four day at the plate.
Prior to the 1994 season, Cleveland had suffered through seven consecutive losing seasons, but with the help of Thome and rising stars Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton and Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland became legitimate World Series contenders throughout the decade.
Thome continued to mash the baseball throughout his Cleveland years including a 511-foot home run hit at Cleveland’s Jacobs Field, which still holds as the longest ever home run to be hit at a Cleveland ballpark.
Prior to the 1997 Thome would move to first base full-time after Cleveland acquired third baseman Matt Williams from the San Francisco Giants. That season, Thome would hit 40 home runs to go along with 102 RBI and a league high, 120 walks.
Thome’s success in Cleveland started to dwindle, as did the team’s, after the 1998 season and in 2002 Thome declared as a free agent. The Peoria native would sign a six-year, $85 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
During his 13 years with the Indians, Thome smacked 337 home runs, 937 RBI and an average of .287. Thome currently is the Indians all-time leader in home runs (337,) walks (1008) and strikeouts (1400.)
His Phillies days saw equivalent success in his four years there, hitting for a .260 average to go along with 101 home runs and 281 RBI, including a MLB high of 47 home runs in 2002.
Despite signing a six-year deal with Philadelphia, Thome was trade to the White Sox on November 25, 2005 after requesting a trade to be closer to his father, a year after his mother had passed away.
From there-on, Thome became a journey man, playing three years in Chicago, a few games with the Dodgers, and then one-year or less stints with Minnesota, Baltimore and again in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
It was his Chicago days that brought him his 500th career homerun on September 16, 2007, but nothing else of substance came from his stint there.
Thome currently sits at seventh all-time in MLB history in home runs with 612 and is currently on the ballot for the 2018 Hall of Fame, his first year of eligibility.