Gentleman Jim Thome Set To Make History as a Minnesota Twin
Jim Thome is on the brink of a historic milestone. With his next home run, the 573rd of his career, he will tie Harmon Killebrew for 10th place all-time on the major league home run list.
The Twins have had a knack of signing veteran players just in time to make history.
On September 16, 1993 Dave Winfield became the 19th member of the 3,000 Hit Club with a single against the Oakland A's. It was Winfield's 20th season and first of two he played for the Minnesota Twins.
Three years later to the date, Paul Molitor became the 21st player to hit 3,000 hits with a triple against Kansas City. It was Molitor's first of three seasons with Minnesota.
Now in the 20th season of his career, and first with the Twins, Thome is poised to complete a Hall of Fame career.
It seems only fitting that Thome should surpass Killebrew's home-run total wearing a Minnesota Twins' uniform—a team Killebrew played 21 of his 22 major league seasons for.
The Twins are Thome's fifth team in his 20th season in the majors. He broke into the majors in 1991 with the Cleveland Indians, a team he would play with for 12 years.
Thome has been a great player and teammate everywhere he's played.
In a 2003 Cleveland Plain Dealer fan poll, Thome was named the most popular athlete in Cleveland sports history. (2003 was LeBron James' first year with the Cavaliers—if he re-signs with the Cavs, without a doubt, if he is not already, James will be the most popular Cleveland athlete ever!)
After the 2002 season Thome signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia.
In his first season with the Phillies, Thome led the Senior Circuit in home runs with 47. At the time this was one shy of Mike Schmidt's team record of 48. (Ryan Howard now holds the Philly season record with 58 home runs in 2006.)
After playing three years for the Phillies from 2003-2005, Thome's popularity with the Philadelphia fans was still evident on June 19th of this year.
Thome received a standing ovation at Citizens Bank Park after hitting a two-run, pinch-hit, home run in the ninth inning.
After three seasons in Philadelphia, the emergence of Howard made Thome expendable and he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in November 2005.
In April 2005, as the White Sox designated hitter, he set a team record for the most home runs in a month with 10.
When he signed with the Twins for the 2010 season he knew his playing time would be limited, and he accepted this role with no complaints.
As a future Hall-of-Famer, there's no doubt that his presence has had a positive influence in the Twins' clubhouse.
He has made the most of his opportunity, appearing in 53 of the Twins' 78 games, and accumulating 117 at bats thus far.
Coming off of a nine-game, interleague road trip, where Thome had the one home run with only five at bats, he hit a home run in the first two games as the DH against the Detroit Tigers, back home at Target Field.
Thome is currently third on the Twins with eight home runs, averaging a home run every 14.6 AB. This ratio is better than that of Justin Morneau who is leading the club with 16 home runs, and averages a HR every 17 at-bats.
If this is Thome's last season it will mirror Killebrew's in a couple of ways:
They will have hit their 573rd home run at the age of 39.
Their careers will have ended with another team within the division where their career started.
And both will be remembered at great players and good men.
Good Luck Jim Thome—here's hoping your 573rd home run is hit at Target Field.
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