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James Howard "Jim" Thome ( ; born August 27, 1970 in ) is a Major League Baseball First Baseman/Designated Hitter, who is currently a free agent.

MLB career

Cleveland Indians

Thome was originally drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 4, 1991 as a third baseman against the Minnesota Twins. He was 2 for 4 in that game, with his first hit coming off pitcher Tom Edens in the fourth inning. He hit his first career home run on October 4 against New York Yankees pitcher Lee Guetterman.

Originally a third baseman, he was shifted to first base when the Indians traded for Matt Williams in 1997.

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 (156 m) shot at Cleveland's Progressive Fieldmarker (then known as Jacobs Field). It is 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.

Thome has been nicknamed "The Thomenator," "The Pride of Peoria," and more recently as a member of the White Sox "Mr. Incredible"." Wildly beloved by Indians fans, a Plain Dealer fan poll in 2003 named Thome the most popular athlete in Cleveland sports history. Some of Thome's trademarks are his high socks that he helped make popular again in the mid-'90s, at a time when players wore their pant cuffs down around their ankles and his batting stance in which he holds the bat out with his right hand and points it at right field before the pitcher comes set, a gesture he borrowed from "The Whammer" in the film The Natural.

Philadelphia Phillies

After the season, Thome accepted a six-year $85 million offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. Thome hit 47 home runs in his first season with the Phillies to finish one behind Hall of Famermarker Mike Schmidt's single-season team record of 48 in .

On June 14, 2004, Thome hit his 400th career home run to the left-center field seats at Citizens Bank Parkmarker., 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.

Thome in 2005
Injuries caught up with Thome during the first half of the season, where he hit only .207 with seven home runs and 30 RBI going into the All-Star break. He had season-ending surgery on his right elbow in August. 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 Ryan Howard made Thome expendable to the Phillies. On November 25, , 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 became the White Sox's regular designated hitter in April 2006 and flourished in his first season in Chicago. In April, he set the team record for most home runs in the month of April (10), beating Frank Thomas's 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.[72055] As a result of his impressive season, Thome was named the American League's Comeback Player of the Year for 2006.

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 Clevelandmarker. Thome pinch-hit for Brian Anderson in the ninth inning and hit an infield single. Alex Cintron, also wearing 42, pinch ran for Thome.

On September 16, 2007, Thome hit his 500th career home run off Los Angeles Angels pitcher Dustin Moseley. The home run was a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth inning with one man on base, which gave the White Sox a 9–7 victory. Thome became the 23rd major leaguer to reach the milestone and the third in the 2007 season (the others were Frank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez) as well as the first ever to do it with a walk-off shot.

25 members of Thome's family and friends were in attendance to witness his milestone, including his father and wife. The game in which Thome hit the home run was also the Jim Thome bobblehead giveaway day at U.S.marker Cellular Fieldmarker. Thome rounded the bases pointing upward in homage to his mother, who died from breast cancer in January 2005.

On June 4, 2008, Thome hit a 464 foot home run—the ninth longest home run in U.S. Cellular Field history—off of Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hochevar in a 6–4 White Sox victory. On August 14 of that year, Thome hit the first of four consecutive home runs by the White Sox. On September 30, he hit a solo shot in the AL Central Tiebreaker game which proved to be the difference as the White Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 1–0.

Thome's hitting continued to be strong in 2009, and on June 1, he hit his 550th career home run in a win against the Oakland As.. On July 17, 2009, Thome hit a grand slam and a three-run homer in the same game for a career-high seven RBIs. On August 15, Thome passed Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and moved up to 11th on the all time home run list with 564 home runs.

Los Angeles Dodgers

On August 31, 2009, Thome was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with cash for minor league infielder Justin Fuller. Thome's only appearances with the Dodgers were as a pinch hitter. He had four hits in seventeen at-bats with the Dodgers.

Career summary

In his career to date (through September 15, 2009), Thome has a .557 slugging percentage, and a .404 on-base percentage. He is considered one of the most complete power hitters of his era due to his ability to create extra base hits, maintain a solid batting average for a power hitter (his career batting average is .278), and ability to get on base. Despite this he is still very prone to striking out. He is #2 in the all time list of strikeouts for a batter, and the #1 active player.

Thome has been named Player of the Month three times: July 2001, September 2003 and June 2004. He is one of only six players to be named Player of the Month in each league (Vladimir Guerrero, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Gaylord Perry and Dave Winfield are the others).

Jim Thome has the fifth-lowest career AB/HR (at bats per home run) average in major-league history. His 13.68 (about 1 HR every 14 times he comes to bat) is eclipsed only by Mark McGwire (10.61), Babe Ruth (11.76), Ryan Howard (12.16), and Barry Bonds (12.90). Stretching behind Thome, all with averages greater than 14, are such hall-of-famers as Ralph Kiner, Harmon Killebrew, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, and Mike Schmidt, in that order.

Only 9 major league players have more career walks than Thome.

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 second friendliest player in a tie with Mike Sweeney.

On September 16, 2007, on "Jim Thome Bobblehead Day" at U.S.marker Cellular Fieldmarker, Thome hit his 500th career home run, becoming the 23rd player in baseball history to accomplish the feat. His 500th career home run was a walk-off winner; he is the only player to accomplish that feat.

Jim Thome currently lives in Hinsdale, Illinois.

On November 16, 2007, Thome and his wife, Andrea, welcomed their second child, son Landon. They have a daughter, Lila Grace.

See also


  4. Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 22
  6. White Sox deal Thome, Contreras
  7. Brown, David. Sox entertain kids at holiday party, December 12, 2007.

External links

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