Two things have always stood out to me about newly inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome. For starters his socks. They were worn about as high as they can go and the cuff of his pants were about an inch or so below the knee cap exposing most of his socks. The other memorable characteristic is in his bat stance. He would get set by pointing his bat to center field prior to each pitch. Thome’s sock fashion made him a trend setter but it’s his performance at the plate that made him one of the all-time greats.
Jim played for twenty-two years: Twelve years with the Cleveland Indians, a few with the Phillies and a four-year stint with the Chicago White Sox. He then bounced around his last few years with multiple teams as a veteran ball player with a big bat. Jim Thome was one of the elite power hitters of the game. Six times he hit more than 40 home runs and in 2011 he became the eighth Major Leaguer to join the 600 Home Run Club. This amazing feat mind you was accomplished with back problems which plagued him for much of his career. Can you imagine his numbers without the back issues? He played in an era of performance enhancing drugs yet Jim Thome has never been suspected or implicated of using.
What I really admire most about Thome is his reputation. He is known throughout baseball as a ball-player with a great attitude. It’s been said that he is friendly, nice, gentle, kind, and a always with a positive attitude. He’s beloved everywhere he goes and was often applauded even by the fans of opposing teams. It’s been documented that often Thome would stay late into the night to sign autographs for fans. A truly selfless man who thinks of others rather than himself – a rare quality indeed, and one the world could use more of.
Thome is a 5x All-Star and a 1996 Silver Slugger Award winner. His career stats are: Hits 2,328 | Runs 1,583 | Home Runs 612 | RBI 1,699
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER JIM THOME
1991 Bowman, Card No. 68 (shop eBay)
Topps resurrected the Bowman brand in 1989. This third year offering is a 704 card set which includes 166 rookie cards. Within the hobby Bowman is considered the “The Home of the Rookie Card” because each year it offers collectors a large checklist of rookie cards and because that was the marketing plan of Topps since the term was introduced to collectors back in 1997. The marketing plan stuck and to this day if you want baseball rookies collectors will refer you to the Bowman brand.
Card design is a simple one. Not a lot of razzle-dazzle therefore allowing us to see much of the photo. A nice, relaxed, upper torso photo of our featured HOF’er complete with bat on shoulder and good view of the infield. Photo is trimmed with two lines, one in blue the other in orange inside of a white border. The Bowman insignia in the lower left corner with a simple gradient ribbon showcasing his name along the bottom of card completes the card front. The card backs are interesting showing us how a player performed against each team he faced from the previous year but since Thome has no major league experience there’s nothing to show, they do give us his 1990 stats in the minors plus minor league career numbers. There is brief commentary along with player bio as well. This was the last year Bowman uses the brown cardboard stock switching to the white cardboard in 1992.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$3.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $10.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $45.00-$60.00 range.
1991 Upper Deck Final Edition, Card No. 17F (shop eBay)
This is Upper Decks version of an update set. Released late in the season this 100 card set offers another true rookie card of Jim Thome. Cards 1-21 offers a Diamond Skills subset which showcases the best up and comers. The photo seems very similar to the Bowman copy. This one is zoomed in a bit, the background is not as clear and the bat is off his shoulder, but the time, date, location, and uniform I’m sure are the same. I’ve never been real impressed with the 91 Upper Deck because I feel the first few years the card design didn’t change much. The card back is not that impressive to look at either, good player commentary but that’s about it.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$2.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $10.00-$20.00 range.
Jim Thome Stats | Baseball-Reference.com https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/thomeji01.shtml (accessed December 19, 2017)
Wikipedia contributors, “Jim Thome,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jim_Thome&oldid=814564488 (accessed December 19, 2017)