Jim Thome is now just a few months away from baseball’s ultimate honor — a plaque in Cooperstown.
The soon-to-be-minted Hall of Famer is one of those players who lived a larger-than-life career. He hit more than 600 homers, played for 22 seasons and left adoring fanbases in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Now, he’s a first-ballot entrant into a world filled with larger-than-life stars.
As you’ll hear in this week’s “Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast,” Thome is just thrilled to join baseball’s most exclusive fraternity. Thome — who is now an MLB Network analyst in addition to being a special assistant for the Chicago White Sox — is this week’s guest on our new MLB podcast.
If you haven’t already, this is a good time to listen to and subscribe to our new MLB podcast. Just click the image below and you’ll be whisked away to Apple Podcasts where you can sign up to get the podcast sent to you each Tuesday when a new one is released.
Thome, as you’ll hear, is one of those guys who loved being a part of a team and cherished his teammates. He talks fondly about playing for the Indians with Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle, plus playing with Ken Griffey Jr. and lots more. He also talks about his decision to have the Indians’ Block C logo on his plaque and not Chief Wahoo.
On what he’s looking forward to most when he’s inducted:
“The great fraternity. I went to college but never was in a fraternity. To go into this fraternity is extra special.”
On Manny Ramirez:
“Manny was just a fun, outgoing great guy. He was a guy that would go in your locker — he might grab my sock, he might grab Sandy’s shorts, he might grab somebody’s shirt. I think in a way, he kind of maybe knew what he was doing to the degree of getting everyone together, that fun-loving, almost kid-like way he had as a young player.”
On Albert Belle:
“When the game was on the line, there was no better clutch player than Albert Belle that I’ve ever seen.”
On choosing the Block C over Chief Wahoo:
“It was the last hat I wore in Cleveland. Obviously, the direction that the Indians are going, to me, it was kind of the direction that I wanted to go in as well. I’m representing Cleveland. I feel so proud to be representing Cleveland, the whole city, what that city has meant. The fans there treated me so great for so many years. I’m really excited to go in with that Block C.”
On making two World Series in Cleveland, but never winning a title:
“Looking back, we were built to win. John Hart, Dan O’Dowd, Mark Shapiro, Dick Jacobs our owner, they built our team to win. And we won. We went to two World Series. But it’s unfortunate because that city deserves a championship in baseball. And we were so close, just like they were a couple of years against the Cubs. They’re going to get it, they’ll get it soon.
“But at the end of the day, it’s disappointing that we were so close. To say that we should have been in five World Series? You can’t say that. I think there’s always a path, the way everything should happen. Look, we were in the arena, we had opportunities to win, we just came up short.”
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