I put up this simple 1991 Bowman card for a reason. That’s been Jim’s career in a nutshell, nothing fancy, but gets the job done. He has always won over the blue collar fan, because they see him as a n average Joe a hero of the working class. Nothing flashy, not a prime-dona, just shows up, and leads his team. Last night Jim hit his 599th and 600th home runs of his career and becomes the 8th member of the 600 home run club.
I feel like Thome has never gotten the respect he deserved through his career. He was a super star in Cleveland until they didn’t want to resign him to a big deal because of his age. In Philly he was never truly embraced because he was a place holder for Ryan Howard. White Sox fans never really took to him since he was effectively taking over for fan favorite Frank Thomas. I feel like the only team who has embraced him since Cleveland is Minnesota.
His entrance into the 600 homer club pretty much guarantees his place in Cooperstown. In an era where PED was the common denominator in home run hitting, Thome’s name was never mentioned. Players like Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds will all be tied to the steroid era. Griffey Jr. will not and now neither will Thome. I look at Thome as your classic old school power hitter, like Harmon Killebrew or Ralph Kiner. A name that will stand the test of time.
Unfortunately the hobby world never saw Thome like that. Go back two weeks and none of his signed cards were fetching more than $35. To me that is amazing, is it because he was never flashy? Probably. In fact you could have had the card pictured below for $33.
In the end, Thome’s place in history will be remembered and celebrated. He may never have the adulation of Mays or Griffey Jr. but he certainly should have. A hard nosed player who played gritty defense and could hit the ball into low orbit. I’ll definitely remember Thome as one of the greats.
How do you think his career stacked up against the greats?