Jim Thome Traded to Indians: 7 Players Who Returned "Home" Late in Their Careers
It's official—Jim Thome is heading back to the Cleveland Indians to wrap up his Hall of Fame career. After claiming Thome on waivers, the Indians were finally able to work out a deal to bring the 40-year-old slugger home.
Hopefully, Indians fans are no longer bitter that Thome left town to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003, but at this point, I'm sure they'll welcome him back with open arms.
In light of Thome's return to Cleveland, I've taken a chance to look back at a few other prominent players who returned to their roots to round out their respective careers. I'm sure there are plenty more, so feel free to add them to the list.
Here is "7 Players Who Returned 'Home' Late in Their Careers."
Jim Thome was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft and would end up playing with the team through the 2002 season. After stops in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and most recently Minnesota, Thome is heading home to wrap up his Hall of Fame career.
Thome is the Indians all-time leader in home runs, slugging 334 of his 601 career home runs with Cleveland.
He led the team to the World Series in both 1995 and 1997. The Indians lost both times, but they hope the 40-year-old slugger can ignite their offense to make another run this season.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
While a member of the Seattle Mariners from 1989 to 1999, Ken Griffey, Jr. established himself as the greatest player in the game.
The slugger went to 10 straight All-Star Games while simultaneously winning 10 straight Gold Glove Awards, and he was named the 1997 AL MVP as a member of the Mariners. He owns dozens of records in Seattle and hit 417 of his 630 career home runs with the team.
After a disappointing nine seasons spent with the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox, Griffey came home in 2009 to spend his final two seasons with the team that drafted him back in 1987.
Andy Pettitte was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1990, later making his debut with the club during the 1995 season.
Over the next eight seasons, Pettitte helped the Yankees secure five World Series championships while winning 139 games. After a three-year hiatus that saw Pettitte with the Houston Astros, the hurler returned home for the final four seasons of his career, helping the Yankees win another World Series title in 2009.
Of Pettitte's 240 career wins, 203 of them came while he was wearing pinstripes.
Hammerin' Hank Aaron started his career with the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and spent the next 21 years with the franchise. The Braves moved to Atlanta before the 1966 season.
After the 1974 season, Aaron signed with the Milwaukee Brewers to play out the last couple seasons of his storybook career in the city that cherished him over the first decade of his career.
While the Braves were in Milwaukee, Aaron made the All-Star team 11 times and led the league in home runs on two occasions.
When Willie Mays began his career with the Giants in 1951, the team was still based out of New York. They would later move to San Francisco before the 1958 season.
After 21 seasons with the Giants that saw Mays break numerous all-time records while establishing himself as the greatest all-around player in MLB history, he decided to return to his roots for the twilight of his career.
The "Say Hey Kid" spent the 1972-73 seasons with the New York Mets, making the All-Star game during his final season in 1973.
From 1963 to 1978, Pete Rose was a fixture in the Cincinnati Reds lineup while leading them to two World Series championships.
After the 1978 season, Rose signed with the Philadelphia Phillies and would spend five years there while winning another World Series title.
After playing in 26 games with the Montreal Expos in 1984, Rose was sent back home to become a player-manager for the Reds. He would break Ty Cobb's all-time hits record during the 1985 season.
Reggie Jackson was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics in 1966 and would accompany the franchise on its move to Oakland before the 1968 season.
After spending the next eight seasons with the Athletics, Jackson would become Mr. October during a five-year stay with the New York Yankees. He also spent one season with the Baltimore Orioles and five years with the California Angels.
As a 41-year-old in 1987, Jackson would make his encore with the team that drafted him before hanging up the spikes on his Hall of Fame career.