With his next at bat, Jim Thome will begin his 13th season as a Cleveland Indian. Only 7 players have played more seasons than him, the most recent of which was Jim Hegan, who ended his 17 year tenure as an Indian in 1957. While he didn’t leave on the greatest terms after the 2002 season, his accomplishments during his first 12 seasons with the Tribe far outweigh the negatives. Those accomplishments include the all time Indians records for home runs (334) and walks (997) as well as 3 all star appearances and a silver slugger. Bringing a player back from a long absence is nothing new for the Indians, who most recently brought back Thome’s teammate Kenny Lofton for the 2007 playoff run. The most famous return was that of Rocky Colavito in 1965 after being traded to Detroit, but many others have come back to welcome receptions including Julio Franco, Doug Jones and Jim Perry.
This year, Thome can’t be expected to near his past totals of home runs (37,49 and 52 in his last three seasons with the Indians), his power bat will be a huge improvement over Shelley Duncan and a suitable replacement for Travis Hafner, who now will not be missed as sorely if he truly does need surgery. I will be happy as long as he hits a couple more THome runs to increase his team record and continues the rate stats he had going with Minnesota (.248/.357/.385). Truthfully, all he needs to do to make me happy is to retire with a Cleveland Indians jersey on his back and go into the Hall of Fame with Chief Wahoo on his hat. Welcome back, Jimmy!
I’ve had this file saved on my computer for over a decade, glad I can finally use it for something.