Cleveland Indians fans were treated to a sight this weekend as the Tribe retired the jersey of one of its greats, Jim Thome.
The first baseman recently was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York. An honor that was a long time coming for Thome.
The Peoria, Illinois, native finished his historic 22 year career in Major League Baseball with a .276 batting average and collecting 612 home runs. That mark is good enough to put Thome in eighth place all-time on the home run list.
In addition to leading the Indians in home runs, Thome is the franchise leader in walks (1,008) and second in career RBIs (937).
He got his break with the Indians in 1991. Thome didn't play his famed first base position, but he began his career in "the show" at third base. He was part of a crop of young players that helped end a 41 year playoff drought for the Tribe.
He played for six teams from 1991 to 2012 and left fans with many memories including these historic moments for Cleveland.
He endeared himself to the fans of Cleveland and Philadelphia through hard work and his blue collar attitude. Because of his work ethic, Thome's jersey is now on permanent display inside of Progressive Field between legends Larry Doby and Bob Feller.
“To have my jersey retired gives me the chills,” Thome said last Saturday. “To see my number hanging in the rafters in the company of Bob Feller, Lou Boudreau, Jackie Robinson, Mel Harder, Larry Doby, Earl Averill, Bob Lemon and Frank Robinson, I don’t really know what to say. That’s some ‘Field of Dreams’ stuff right there.”
During his ceremony, Thome strolled into the batter's box and did something that will go down into Indians history.
He was mauled at home plate by the likes of Carlos Baerga, Kenny Lofton, and Omar Vizquel. A sight that was common in Northeast Ohio during the entire duration of the 1990s. It's great to see Thome get the heroes welcome he deserves. The first basemen meant so much to so many and now his legacy will live on forever.