On Wednesday Night former Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles slugger Jim Thome received the call that he was voted into the MLB Hall of Fame. Thome spent three and a half years of his 21-year major league career playing for the White Sox.
Although it seems like a brief time, he is highly-loved by the White Sox fan base.
The team acquired Thome following the 2005 World Series season from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for centerfielder Aaron Rowand and then minor league prospect Gio Gonzalez. The trade was viewed as controversial as the White Sox traded fan-favorite Rowand who’s defense was seen as a crucial reason for the team’s 05 success.
It also signaled the end of Frank Thomas tenure with White Sox who had been apart of the team for over 14 seasons, but had spent most of the 04 and 05 seasons on the disabled list.
Many questioned whether the trade for Thome was a wise one because he was coming off an injury-plagued season where he played in just 59 games and hit seven home runs.
He proved everyone wrong as he hit 42 home runs, drove in 109 RBIs, and won the AL Comeback Player of the Year award in his first season with the Sox. He hit a total of 133 home runs during his time on the south side and was the first left-handed hitter in team history to hit more than 40 home runs in a season.
Thome’s two career moments during his tenure with the White Sox are both historic home runs. In 2007, he became the 23rd member of the 500 home run club hitting a walk-off home run against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 16th. His home run was the only time that a player’s 500th career home run was a walk-off home run.
His second biggest moment was key in the White Sox winning the AL Central Division crown in 2008 which would also be the last time the White Sox would make the playoffs. In a one-game playoff against the Minnesota Twins, Thome hit a solo home run that traveled over the centerfield batter’s eye and would be the difference in the one-run ballgame.
The game would be known as the “Blackout Game” and Thome’s HR will give you chills:
— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) January 24, 2018
Along with the White Sox, Thome played and homered for four other major league teams during his career with the first being with the Indians and the last being with the Baltimore Orioles. Born and raised in Peoria, he is beloved by the White Sox faithful for his short time with them.
When it comes time for him to be officially inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame this July as a Cleveland Indian, Sox fans will still treat Thome as a home town hero anytime returns to Guarantee Rate Field which speaks volumes.