With their pick in the 13th Round of the 1989 MLB June Amateur Draft, the Cleveland Indians selected Jim Thome out of Illinois Central College. Jim Thome has two true rookie cards.
Thome a Fashion Trendsetter?
Two things have always stood out to me about Jim Thome. For starters his socks.
They were worn about as high as they can go and the cuff of his pants was 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 trendsetter but it’s his performance at the plate that made him a Hall of Famer.
Jim Thome in the Steroid Era
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 ballplayer 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 that 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.
Jim Thome’s Personality
What I really admire most about Thome is his reputation. He is known throughout baseball as a ballplayer with a great attitude.
It’s been said that he is friendly, nice, gentle, kind, and 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.
Career Stats & Accomplishments
According to Baseball-Reference.com Jim Thome career stats are: Career Summary: Hits 2,328 | Runs 1,583 | Home Runs 612 | RBI 1,699.
- 5x All-Star
- 1996 Silver Slugger Award
- 2002 Roberto Clemente Award
- 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
- 2006 AL Comeback Player of the Year
Jim Thome True Rookie Cards:
1991 Bowman, #68 (RC)
Topps resurrected the Bowman brand in 1989. This third-year offering is a 704 card set which includes 166 rookie cards.
Within the hobby, the Bowman brand 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 1992.
The marketing plan stuck and to this day if you want baseball rookies some 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 features this Jim Thome rookie card, complete with Franklin batting gloves, bat on the shoulder, and a good view of the infield.
There is no shortage of supply due to the peak of the mass-produced era in 1991. But it’s still a true rookie card of a Hall of Famer.
1991 Upper Deck Final Edition, #17F (RC)
This is the Upper Decks version of an updated set. Released late in the season this 100 card set offers another Jim Thome rookie card.
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.
The card back is not that impressive to look at, good player commentary but that’s about it.
Speaking of home run hitters. What about the rookie cards of Barry Bonds.
Happy Collecting Collectors,
Learn. Collect. Enjoy.