- 3B, DH, 1B
- August 27, 1970
- 6' 3"
- 250 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-04-1991 with CLE
- Allstar Selections:
- 1996 SS, 2002 RC, 2004 LG
Jim Thome is one of the great sluggers in baseball history and on August 15, 2011 became the 8th player to hit 600 home runs. He has also led the league in walks three times.
During high school in Bartonville, Illinois (not far from his birthplace, Peoria), Thome was all-state in baseball and basketball. He went on to play both sports at Illinois Central College. He was signed as a 13th round pick in the 1989 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians and scout Tom Couston. Thome started his minor league career in the Gulf Coast League in 1989.
Thome came up shortly after turning 21 and was with the Cleveland Indians for over a decade. Spending part of his 1992 and 1993 seasons in the minors, he was slugging over .500 and it was clear that he should be at the major league level full time. He played almost exclusively third base at the major league level from 1991-1996, but since that time he has never played another game at third, appearing only at first base and DH.
Thome has never won an MVP award, finishing as high as fourth. However, in 2002 when he hit 52 homers and led the league in slugging, he won the Roberto Clemente Award. He hit a home run in 7 consecutive games in 2002, 1 game short of the all-time record, held by Dale Long, Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey, Jr. He later won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2004, and in a 2005 survey was chosen the "Best Teammate in Major League Baseball" by a wide margin.
In 2006 with the Chicago White Sox, he set a record by scoring a run in each of the team's first 17 games of the season. His hot start also included 10 home runs in the month of April.
As of September 16, 2007, Thome was #4 on the all-time list for fewest At-Bats-Per-Home-Run. The three players ahead of him are Mark McGwire (in a shorter career), Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds. Thome had hit a home run every 13.6 at-bats, on average.
When interviewed about possible steroid use, Thome denied ever having taken steroids, saying that he was a big guy who grew up on a farm, and developed his strength doing farm duties.
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