CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Indians infielder/designated hitter Jim Thome did not have to wait long for selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In the first year of eligibility, Thome was named on 89.8 percent of the ballots, which was well ahead of the required 75 percent for induction, and became the 13th member of the Indians’ organization to earn enshrinement when the results of the voting were announced on MLB Network Wednesday night.
“I’m so thankful for this great honor,” Thome said in a conference call following the announcement.
“This is a day I don’t think any player can ever imagine happening, and it’s just a great honor. I just can’t thank you enough. It’s a special day in all of our lives.”
Unquestionably, Thome is fan of the game of baseball and has taken a genuine interest in the history of the sport, which is why he and his father, Chuck, once made the trip to Cooperstown, New York for a tour of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now, when the Thomes return to Cooperstown, it will be to see Jim unveil a plaque commemorating his induction.
“I think the Hall of Fame is so magical,” Thome said. “If you’re a baseball fan and you truly understand it and want to understand it, I think that’s what the driving force was to take the 500 and 600 baseball to there because it’s where it should’ve been. It’s where it should be.
“You’ve got all these great artifacts. It’s the greatest place there is, and one day doesn’t do it justice. You need to spend two or three to fully understand all of the great things that are in that place. It is just so special.”
A 13th-round pick out of Illinois Central College who became a three-time American League All-Star, Thome belted 337 home runs and drew 1,008 walks with the Indians, both of which are franchise records. Additionally, Thome is second in Indians history with 937 RBI and third in on-base (.414), slugging (.592) and on-base-plus-slugging percentages (.980), as well as 10th with 263 doubles.
Thome led the American League in walks three times in his Indians career, and hit 20 or more home runs in each of his last nine full seasons with the Tribe (1994-2002), including a personal best, and team-record, 52 round-trippers in 2002.
READ MORE: WKYC.com
Article Courtesy of WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland
First Picture Courtesy of Alex Trautwig and Getty Images
Second Picture Courtesy of Ron Vesely and Getty Images
Video Courtesy of YouTube and WKYC Channel 3 News Cleveland