MLB home run beast, and all around good guy, Jim Thome made his much anticipated debut last night with a franchise and city that is all too familiar to him: the Cleveland Indians. The Indians’ all-time leader in HRs made his return back home to the club that he began his career with official Friday night in a 2-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Thome made his way back over to Cleveland after waiving his no-trade clause earlier in the week, allowing the Indians to strike a deal with the Minnesota Twins. He is being brought back to his original club to help fill-in for injured designated hitter Travis Hafner. The Indians are hoping Thome’s presence at the plate and in the club house will help the club make a run at division leader Detroit Tigers.
Thome began his career in 1991 with Cleveland, spending a total of 12 seasons in his first stint with the Indians. In his final year with Cleveland, Thome belted a career-high 52 home runs, making him the career-leader in home runs for The Tribe with 334, before leaving the next season for Philadelphia.
Earlier this month, while still a member of the Twins, Thome achieved one of baseball’s most hallowed feats by belting his 600th career home run. Although the steroid era may have diminished the importance of this feat with members like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and A-Rod on the list, no one has ever doubted the sincerity of Thome’s approach to the game.
The Cleveland Slugger is now only the eighth member of the 600-Club, and the fifth to accomplish the record since 2002. At 40, he is also the oldest member to reach the 600 mark. However, only Babe Ruth needed fewer career at-bats than Thome to accomplish the Hall of Fame-worthy act.