Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Jim Thome!!!
As we sit just days before the start of the 2013 baseball season, I like to keep an eye on the list of remaining unsigned free agents to see who might get picked up.
And while there are some pretty accomplished players on the list, the one player that I am very surprised to see still sitting there is Jim Thome.
Thome is certainly past his prime years, and he has been a part-time player for the last two seasons. But even at 42, Thome has proved that he still has some pop left in his bat. In 2011, he competed in 93 games and hit 15 home runs. And in 2012, he played in 58 games and connected for 8 long-balls.
To be honest, I am shocked that a team like the Red Sox or Yankees have not reached out to him on a 1-year deal just to add a little more run production and power to their bench.
So, that leads me up to today’s Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Jim Thome!!!
Over the course of his career, Jim Thome has put up some amazing power and run producing numbers. As of today, he ranks in 7th place on the all-time list for home runs. He is 24th in all-time RBI. And he is tied for 50th on the career list for runs scored.
His power and run production is among the greatest in major league baseball history. And the company that he keeps on those lists is baseball royalty.
But, does Jim Thome’s name deserve to be mentioned among them? Some of these players are the greatest of all-time – Aaron, Mays, Frank Robinson, and more. These players possessed all-around skills that Jim Thome did not have.
Thome connected for 40 or more home runs during six seasons. And he collected between 30-39 home runs six more times. He also drove in 100 or more RBI in 9 of his 22 major league seasons.
For all of the production that Thome offered, he fits into the ‘slugger’ theme very well. Thome led the league in strikeouts during three separate seasons, and with his lifetime strikeouts tally of 2,548, he ranks in second place, just 49 strikeouts behind the leader, Reggie Jackson.
Thome’s career batting average of .276 is solid, but not outstanding. He reached the .300 mark just three times during his career, while hitting less than .260 during twelve seasons.
Jim Thome has collected 2,328 hits during the course of his major league career. When looking at the other hitters from his era that have reached similar power numbers, their total hits are much, much higher than what Thome has been able to achieve. Ken Griffey, Jr had 2,781 hits, Sammy Sosa has 2,408, and Alex Rodriguez has 2,901. And like Thome, all of these guys spent a lot of their time batting clean-up.
Jim Thome’s teams made it to the post-season ten times. They appeared in two World Series match-ups losing both.
Thome is a 5-time All-Star. He won a Silver Slugger Award in 1996 and finished in the ‘Top 7′ for the MVP award four times with his highest placing of 4th coming in 2003.
So, is Jim Thome Hall of Fame worthy???
For me, the answer is ‘No’. While Thome has apparently put up these power numbers while doing it ‘clean’, his career was basically built off of the fact that he could hit the ball out of the ballpark – and that for me is just not enough. His career batting average and hits tally are far from impressive for a 22-year player. And he was never known for being above average at defense or base running.
Jim Thome was a monster slugger – and that is it. He has a lot of contemporaries that did just what he did for other teams, but some of them did quite a bit more in other parts of the game and those are the ones that deserve consideration for enshrinement.
I may be in the minority with this, but I find Thome to be an extremely good 1-dimensional player. And that is not Hall of Fame-esque.
Now give me your opinion – Is Jim Thome worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement??