Skip to content

600 homers or not, Thome was already Hall-worthy

Aug 15, 2011, 11:18 PM EDT

thome-110815.standard[1]

Jim Thome joined an elite club on Monday night when he became the eighth player in MLB history to hit 600 home runs. Now that the Minnesota Twins designated hitter has reached such a special milestone, be prepared to hear the question: “Does this make Jim Thome a Hall of Famer?”

I’ve got news for you: Thome didn’t need the milestone. He was already worthy of Cooperstown.

This has nothing to do with Thome being a good guy both with the media and in general (he’s one of the best), and it has nothing to do with his charitable contributions to society (he’s paying for all 10 of his nieces and nephews to go through college). Plenty of players give good interviews and do nice things for people.

No, this has to do with the sheer numbers and impact on the game. It has to do with quietly putting up strong statistics year after year for 21 seasons, compiling one of the most impressive power hitting resumes in baseball history.

Knock Thome, if you will, for spending the bulk of his career as a DH. After all, it’s only fair to give more credence to players who can hit and play defense. Give him demerits for striking out more than 2,400 times, for only being an All-Star five times, for never winning an MVP award or a World Series.

But then remember the 1,700 walks (eighth all time), the .403 on-base percentage (better than Rickey Henderson), and the respectable .277 batting average (better than Joe Morgan). Thome’s hulking presence might remind one of Paul Bunyan, but he was never an all-or-nothing axe-wielding hacker a la Dave Kingman or Rob Deer.

In examining the numbers, Baseball-reference says Thome’s career compares most closely to those of Frank Thomas, Sammy Sosa, Mike Schmidt, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, and Willie Stargell. All of those players are in Cooperstown except for Thomas, who will be once he gains eligibility, and Sosa, a fellow member of the 600-homer club whose career has been tainted by a connection to steroids.

Thomas is an interesting comparison because like Thome, his career was spent mostly at DH. He was rightly feared as one of the best hitters of his era, notching three seasons with an OPS over 1.000, including the monster 1994 campaign of 1.217. Thomas’ career OPS is an impressive .974, but Thome’s is just a notch behind at .960. Thomas’ OPS+ is a whopping 156, but Thome’s is 147. The gulf between the players is not as wide as you might imagine.

As far as the steroids era, there is no way Thome can escape it. Type “steroids Thome” into Google and the search engine spits out more than 700,000 entries, some of which cite the steroids era as dampening excitement for the slugger’s march to 600 home runs. While Thome has never been connected to performance-enhancing drugs, it’s impossible for any player, particularly a power hitter, to avoid being tarnished by the era. It’s not fair, it’s just the way it is.

But until there is some evidence of cheating – remember, Thome’s name did not come up in the Mitchell Report, the BALCO scandal, or in any other PED investigation – we’ve got to take the man and his legacy at face value.

Prepare a place in Cooperstown, because Jim Thome has earned his place in the Hall.

You can follow Bob on Twitter here, or if Facebook is your thing, be his friend here.

  1. hittfamily - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Already HOF worthy my behind. Very nice career. Good numbers spread out over a long time. He was never a premiere player…..ever.

    Same debate as Johnny Damon if he gets to 3000. Same debate as Andruw Jones if he gets to 500.

    He was quite frankly a burden on his teams for the last 6 years. So throw that out in my mind. If you aren’t helping your team, your numbers are worthless.

    • Reflex - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      I’m fairly certain that for the past six years his teams have been pretty happy to have him. He’s had fantastic production, especially given his age.

      Also, define ‘premiere player’, for quite some time he was the heart of the Indians lineup along with Manny. Statistically speaking, as pointed out in the article, he’s damn close to Frank Thomas, and Thomas is a shoo-in for the HoF. I don’t know how much better than that you need to be.

      That said, if he had played in NY, I’m pretty sure people like you would be busy singing his praises. Thome seems to be penalized mostly for playing in the midwest and not making a ton of noise as a human being(no scandal, no drugs, always a good teammate, etc).

    • Reflex - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:37 PM

      BTW, over the past six years Thome has hit .265/.390/.543 with 165HR’s. I’m not sure how many players have done better, but its got to be a pretty select group. And given those are his ‘decline phase’ numbers, from his year 35-40 seasons, yeah, thats pretty impressive.

    • citifieldurinal - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:46 PM

      Barf.

      Oh you mean the guy who was worth 3.2 WAR last year in 340 PAs at age 40? Oh Christ, what a burden to carry!

      Here’s an average 162 game season for Thome: .277/.403/.557 39 HR, 109 RBI, 116 BB 162 K. Now repeat for 20 seasons in various sample sizes. That’s unreal. And his OPS+ is 124 at age 41.

    • hittfamily - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:52 PM

      Bagwell, Big Mac, Palmeiro, Thomas, Pujols, Helton, Delgado, McGriff, Thome.

      All great players from virtually the same era. Thome just doesnt jump out. He is a great player obviuosly, but unless we elect half the first baseman from the ninetes, he’s on the outside looking in.

      • citifieldurinal - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:25 AM

        Career OPS+ and WAR
        McGwire 162/70.6
        Thomas 156/76.2
        Bagwell 149/83.9
        Thome 147/70.7
        Edgar Martinez 147/69.9 (for shits and giggles)
        Delgado 138/46.3
        Helton 137/61.7
        Palmeiro 132/74.3
        McGriff 134/61

        It’s not like inducting Thome is like inducting John Jaha.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:02 AM

        I think my original post came off wrong. He is a great player. I disagree with electing a lot of 1st baseman. They are so 1 dimensional. He just isn’t that much better than his peers to deserve enshrinement as an alltime great, if it is debatable as to whether he was a top 5 or 6 at his position of his generation. His numbers are amazing, but compared to other 1st baseman of his era, they are just good.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:37 AM

        hittfamily: I notice on that other post you say you’re a Rays fan. Tell me, what exactly qualifies a Rays fan to be the judge of what are and aren’t Hall of Fame numbers? The fact Wade Boggs wanted to go into Cooperstown wearing your hat?

      • Reflex - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:04 AM

        Just to be clear, you just named a group of people who all should be strongly considered for the HoF. Personally I disqualify McGwire and Palmeiro for steroids(but not going to argue abou that here). Bagwell, Thomas and Pujols all should be locks. Thome ranks right among them. McGriff is very borderline. Delgado I think is slightly under the bar, and Helton’s career isn’t finished yet.

        I don’t think there should be any question that Thome is in the discussion, and in my opinion given his career milestones, his outstanding character and reputation(part of the Hall criteria), and the fact that playing most of his career in the midwest kept his accomplishments under the radar, I really don’t think there is a question.

        BTW, in my mind, Edgar Martinez should be a lock as well. While I don’t like the DH, it is a legit position and he was the best there ever was at it.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:05 AM

        Throwing out seasons with less than 200 PA. Olerud Played 17 years (15 qualify). Thome played 21 (18 qualify).

        John Olerud averaged 4.05 WAR per season
        Jim Thome averaged 3.87 WAR per season

        If you play the same position that John Olerud played, and you are inferior, you are not a HOFer

      • Reflex - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:13 AM

        As I pointed out below, Olerud has a decent HoF case, and is at worst a borderline candidate. If he’s borderline, Thome is in.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:21 AM

        Reflex
        Thanks for the input. I just chose at random a 1st baseman from the 90’s and 2000’s that was good, but not great. I was actually astonished when I did the calculations and discovered that when you compare their careers, Olerud posts a higher WAR per year. That is why I double posted it. Because I was actually amazed, but I think it backs my point. Thome has great all time numbers, but a bunch of above average 90’s and 00’s seasons will do that. His historical numbers are great, but broken down to how much he actually helped his team compared to his peers, they just aren’t good enough for the HOF. HO Good, yes. HOF…..no

      • florida727 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:46 AM

        “hittfamily”, 5 posts and a combined 7 thumbs-up clicks (5 of which were probably your own) v. 167 thumbs-down clicks. Maybe, just maybe, you’re the one that’s off-base. Just sayin’…

        He’s in the HOF, dude. Get over it.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      Never elite?

      1996: 38 HR, .314/.450/.612
      1997: 40 HR, .286/.423/.579
      1999: 33 HR, .277/.426/.540
      2001: 49 HR, .291/.416/.624
      2002: 52 HR, .304/.445/.677
      2003: 47 HR, .266/.385/.573
      2004: 42 HR, .274/.396/.581
      2006: 42 HR, .288/.416/.598

      Those numbers aren’t elite? Look at those and then add in the years that were merely really good.
      Thome was top ten in WAR 6 times, OBP 10 times, slugging 10 times, OPS 10 times, HR 9 times, ect. As for the arguement that he was just one dimensional…so what? That one dimension is “hitting” (i.e., power and the ability to not make outs), and he did an excellent job of it.

      It’s very hard to take someone seriously who argues that a guy 17th in OPS in his career (ahead of Johnny Mize, Mel Ott, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Ken Griffey Jr, ect) isn’t worthy of the hall of fame….well…what the hell is your hall of fame standard. Should it contain only Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Walter Johnson? When Thome gets in, he will have had a better career than 3/4 of the guys currently in the hall. That seems pretty worthy to me.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        John bleeping Olerud has a higher WAR per season. He is not elite

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:19 AM

        John Olerud didn’t have as many seasons at the end dragging his average WAR down, and ten of his wins came from defense. Most everybody agrees he was indeed an excellect defensive first baseman, but given the uncertainties of UZR, especially at first base, we probably should regress that somewhat.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM

        Also, look at the top graph. Not sure how WAR is supporting you here.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=409&playerid3=1093&playerid4=&playerid5=

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:23 AM

        Don’t need to regress it, just look at offensive value*.

        Thome – 74.9 oWAR
        Olerud – 47.1 oWAR

        *not saying to take defensive value out of the picture completely, because Olerud was phenomenal. But with the metrics, especially at 1b and catcher being so sketchy it’s easy to see [with oWAR] how much better Thome was as a hitter.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM

        1. Olerud had 56 career war, Thome’s is over 70
        2. In 1993, Olerud hit 24 HR, knocked in 107 and had an unreal .363/.473/.599 slash line (186 OPS+) and probably should have won the MVP. In 1998, he hit .354/.447/.551. So, yes, on occasion, John Olerud was very elite thank you very much!

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:19 PM

        Kevin S

        Fair enough. Here is an amended graph that you provided. 3 of the players are good. 1 is great. See if you can pick out the good from the great.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?playerid2=409&playerid3=1093&playerid4=56&playerid5=547

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:16 PM

        Yeah, Jeff Bagwell is well above the cut-line for Hall of Fame quality. His being held out for baseless PED suspicions is an outrage. That doesn’t mean Thome shouldn’t be in either.

        Not sure what Mark Grace illustrates there, other than Thome had a significantly better career than he did.

  2. drunkenhooliganism - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    I think it’s the contradictions that my mind created about him that make Jim Thome so special.
    He appears to be a kind and gentle man, but his swing is so violent. He looks so damn country, but his timing is hollywood. He seems to be quiet and shy, but 600 homers are deafening.
    He’s a role model and he’s a great athlete.

  3. pkers - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    2006, when he went to the White Sox, was the first year that Thome became a full-time DH. Only two times in the preceding 12 full seasons of his career did he log more than 20 games at DH. So, yes, he wasn’t much of a fielder, but he didnt’ spend most of his career as a DH.

  4. tashkalucy - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    I think the problem is perception.

    Jimmy was defined when with the Indians as one of their leaders and one of the best power hitters in baseball.

    Since then he traveled to the Phils – a team that got good after he left. And he left for a rookie 1B, Ryan Howard. Hall Of Famer’s in their prime don’t get pushed off the team by rookies. Subsequently he had decent production in Chicago and Minnesota, but it’s a stretch to say that he was a major player on those decent, but not overwhelming teams – he’s been more of a support player that has 3 very good games every few weeks as a DH.

    But yes, he should make the HOF.

    Having watched him with the Indians in the 90’s I’m happy for him. But like Lebron, he kept telling the community how important there were to him, and even told local media that the team deserved a “hometown discount.” Then he and his agent proceeded to pit the Indians against the Phillies and left for more money, showing just how important the community really was to him. Recently Cleveland writers have tried to galvanize the fan base to get behind Thome. It fell on deaf ears. From that great 90’s team, Kenny Lofton and Omar Visquel wanted to stay and Indians management wouldn’t make them offers. To this day the fan base loves them and gives them standing ovations every time they’re in town (and they love coming in). Albert Belle was honest – he was going for the last cent. But Manny and Thome kept telling the fans how important they were to them, and both turned their backs on exorbitant contract offers that they could never spend if they brought all their extended families mansions and supported them for the rest of their lives.

    Jimmy and Manny got the extra money. Don’t know what difference it makes in their lives. But both were loved and happy in Cleveland. And if you filled them full of truth serum they would tell you (as Lebron James would as well) that leaving Cleveland to play elsewhere was the worst decision they made in their lives.They never had it remotely as good as they had it there.

    • bambam08 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:44 AM

      Ryan Howard wasn’t just some rookie.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:17 AM

      He only was moved from Philly because Ryan Howard was there when Thome was paid 12-13 million per, was due for a raise, and Howard was pretty much an even swap offensively at 300 grand per season, and younger, so the more sure bet. Philly was still playing shrewdly with their money around that time so it was no shocker to anyone.

      • tashkalucy - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:20 AM

        And if Thome was an “even swap offensively” (both are terrible defensive players), then how do people perceive this as a HOF’er?

        Did Willie Mays get pushed out by a rookie at 34 that could produce what he did? Mickey Mantle? And on, and on.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        Did the Giants or Yankees have said rookies available? Did they have trades available to help them fill other holes? Are Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays the standard required for getting into the Hall?

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM

        Oh, and were Mantle and Mays making budget-busting money?

    • kopy - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:44 AM

      “Hall Of Famer’s in their prime don’t get pushed off the team by rookies.”

      Jim Thome was 34 years old and had been in the league for 15 years when he left Philadelphia. The fact that you somehow think he was in his “prime” is really a testament to his consistency and longevity.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      In 2004, Howard hit 46 homers, .291/.380/.637 between AA and AAA
      In 2005, he was hitting .371/.467/.690 when he was called up. Thome was injured, and Howard proved he could hit just in the majors too.

      The Philles were paying Thome 13 million and Howard the 400k. Any GM with half a brain would trade the expensive, talented first baseman and pay the cheap young (but proven that he can hit) first baseman. That’s not a knock against Thome. That’s a compliment to Howard. If they had kept Thome, they would have been just as good, just a lot more expensive.

  5. hook66 - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Hittfamily it’s nice you decided to go to a sports site for a change because you clearly no very little.

    • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:28 AM

      and you no very little about grammar.

      What other site are you referring to? This is the only site I use this nomenclature for.

  6. entersandman42ny - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Jim Thome was a very nice player over the course of his career, but in no way is he hall of fame worthy. He never finished in the top 5 of mvp voting and only made the all star team 5 times in his 21 year career. How is that hall of fame worthy? Just because he reached the 500 home run milestone doesn’t make him a shoe in for the hall of fame. He was never the best player at his position and didn’t transcend the game of baseball. He is one of these guys who limped to a milestone by sticking around a couple of extra years. He is a compiler, he belongs in the hall of very good, but not the hall of fame.

    • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:35 AM

      With the exception of the MVP and All Star votes I completely agree with what you said. Those two are subjective, based on popularity. He had 4 incredible years, and 16 years of just blending in. People look at his stats and compare him to all time greats, which isn’t fair to actual all time greats. It was a different era. In Thomes era, he was very good, but never great. If you aren’t great in your own era, you certainly aren’t an all time great. Thome is a very good player, but not elite. He was at best the 4th best 1st baseman of his generation, and I would argue the 6th best.

    • citifieldurinal - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:08 AM

      People with whom Jim Thome shares a career OPS+ (which can be measured across eras):
      Willie Stargell
      Mike Schmidt
      Willie McCovey
      Edgar Martinez

    • kiwicricket - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:09 AM

      Buddy! He just reached the 600 HR milestone, and got on-base 40% of the time doing it. He seems to have ‘transcended’ baseball quite nicely as everyone- Man, woman or child likes him and thinks he’s a bloody good guy. Perhaps he didn’t make enough Nike or Gatorade commercials for your liking?

      The guy is a HOF’er

    • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:52 AM

      Is John Olerud a hall of famer??? Because if Jim Thome is, then John Olerud is very close. Olerud played 17 seasons and had a combined 60.3 WAR for an average of 3.5 per season. Thome played 18 (threw out 1st 3 seasons, less than 200 ab per {beneficial to Thome}) for a combined 69.7 combined WAR. Averaged per season, Thome posts a 3.9 WAR.

      My point isn’t that Thome wasn’t good. He was good. So was John Olerud. Neither are great though.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:01 AM

        I actually did Olerud’s wrong. I gave Thome the benefit of not averaging season with very few ABs, so I need to do the same for Olerud. Olerud only had 8 PA in 89′, so I’m going to throw that out. His last year, he had less than 200 PA, so I threw that out as well. So the new adjusted WAR per season is:

        John Olerud averaged 4.05 WAR per season
        Jim Thome averaged 3.87 WAR per season

        If you play the same position than John Olerud, and you are inferior, you are not a HOFer

      • Reflex - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:11 AM

        I find it interesting that in attempting to disprove Thome you keep comparing him to people who actually have strong HoF cases or are borderline but arguably should be in. Olerud was very good, despite a lack of power, and a good case for him was made here:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/john-oleruds-hall-of-fame-case

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:33 AM

        I understand Olerud and Thome both have good cases for the HOF compared to other ball players, but not compared to fist baseman. My idea is that the hall is for the best of the best, and not good. Writers can’t induct 10 first baseman from the last 15 years. They eventually elect Thome, as I am sure they will. It will be a sad day, because the actually tough positions, they leave out. I hate the idea that half the inductees in the next 7 or 8 years will play first base, and only 3 will be catchers, SS, 2b, or CF’s, the difficult positions to play. (Piazza, Biggio, Griffey,) (Jeter and Pudge when they retire)

        From the 90’s, if only 1 centerfielder (Jr) is worthy, 2 2b (Alomar, Biggio), 1 SS, 2 catchers (Pudge, Piazza), then we shouldn’t elect literally a third of the first baseman.

      • mrfloydpink - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:01 AM

        Wait, wait! This is a GREAT way to evaluate players.

        George Brett was worth 3.78 WAR per season. Clearly worse than Olerud, and therefore not a Hall of Famer. Sorry, George.

        Willie McCovey was worth a pedestrian 3.31 WAR per season. Clearly WAY worse than Olerud. Out of the Hall of Fame for you, Stretch.

        Reggie Jackson (3.55 WAR per season), Carl Yastrzemski (2.99 WAR/season), and Ken Griffey Jr. (3.55 WAR/season)? All scrubs. Ban ‘em, I say!

        This is fun! I bet you could build a pretty good team of players who were worse than Olerud.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:36 AM

        Olerud is not in the same discussion as Thome right now is he? YOU MUST BE JOKING…….. RIGHT?

        There is a reason Olerud was making half of what Thome was making in the very same seasons. Granted, Thome did it for longer. Which really is just another reason to shoo him in first. Adjusted War…… GTFO. Look at the career, give your applause and move on. Thome will get in. Olerud? Maybe not so much. I’m not bashing Olerud, he was very good, and had a long career. I’m just saying Thome was better, for much longer. His OPS was over 1. At age 39. Something Olerud wasn’t able to do since he was 24 and had his very best offensive season of his career.

      • FC - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:39 AM

        And there in lies the problem with using only WAR to evaluate players. It should be an additional tool not the be-all and end-all. In any case Thome = HOF. The Thunderdome man!!!!! 600 HR is not a piece of cake. The OPS+ is also a good case, I’m sure we can find many many more stats.

  7. yournuts - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:45 AM

    Jim Thome is a class act. Well done Jim. Congrats.

  8. Justin - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    Maybe if ESPN would vomit up more stories or a countdown for his 600 HR like they did for a aging pin striper, that most would take a bullet for as opposed to keep him out of the HOF, who just recently got his 3000 hit more would be in favor of Thome in the HOF. Oh and side note. 600 HR club? 8 members. 3000 hit club? 28 members.

  9. denverdude7 - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    Congatulations to Jim Thome.

    A great moment for a good guy. Your place in the Hall of Fame is well deserved. We would all be better off if we conducted ourselves in a similiar manner.

    One for the good guys !!! This makes my day and I haven’t even had my coffee yet !!!

  10. tominma - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    600 HRs is a great achievement., He’s also a class act. But I think it’s too easy to get into the hall of Fame. The HOF should be reserved for the best of the best. Compare Thome to Willie Mays, Ted William, Aaron, Yount, etc and you get my point.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:48 AM

      Wait Mays, Williams, Aaron and Yount? Like the song goes, one of these is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong.

      Player A: 12249 PA, 82.2 oWAR, .285/.342/.430 – 115OPS+
      Player B: 10020 PA, 74.9 oWAR, .277/.403/.558 – 147OPS+

      Which one is Yount and which is Thome?

      And for shits and giggles:

      Mays – 136.2 oWAR
      Williams – 127.3 oWAR
      Aaron – 130.1 oWAR

    • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:21 AM

      You mean you want the Willie Mays Hall of Fame?

      http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/01/06/the-willie-mays-hall-of-fame/

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:38 AM

      …you just kind of casually threw Robin Yount in there, didn’t you? Don’t get me wrong, Yount is certainly deserving of his place in the hall of fame. But if you compared Yount to Aaron, Ted Williams and Willie Mays, no one would consider Robin Yount a hall of famer.

  11. sasquash20 - Aug 16, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    You stat geeks are wormburners. His WAR is this, his this is that. Hog wash 600 jacks,1657 rbi, OBP of .403, .557 SLU, .960 OPS, 4546 TOTAL BASES, 2260 HITS, 440 2BS. The guy is first ballot lock. So suck my hairy bean bag. And if there is a human HOF he would be first ballot for that as well. You DB are clueless if you don’t agree hes a HOFer

    • fquaye149 - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:18 AM

      You realize the advanced stats all bolster Thome’s case, right? With the exception of hittfamily who clearly has a poor conception of WAR since he is pooh-poohing the 9.6 win discrepancy between Olerud and Thome as anything but the enormous edge i0 career wins are in evaluating HOF cases, anyone looking at advanced stats is going to see Thome as an incredibly qualified HOFer.

      Also, I’ve never heard of the stat “THIS”. Must be a fangraphs thing!

    • Paul Zummo - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:04 AM

      As fquaye said, the Sabre crowd would be among the first group arguing for Thome’s induction into the Hall. I don’t know who you think you’re arguing with here.

      • FC - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        Maybe with hittfamily who’s trying to use WAR to argue Thome shouldn’t be in it by comparing it with Olerud and then his argument was completely dismantled when it turns out many hall of famers had less WAR than both Thome and Olerud. LOL!

      • Paul Zummo - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:13 AM

        Yeah, the arguments he gave against Thome really are justifications for why those guys should be in the Hall, not why Thome shouldn’t.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:55 PM

        I’m not a sabre guy. I think Thome has a nice case for the hall. I think first baseman are over valued. In Cleveland, I would rank him the 5th best player on his team. He was far more replaceable than Manny, Vizquel, Lofton, Robby Alomar, Baerga (for a few years). He was a great player. He was a good player for his time. Good first basman, even great first baseman, were a dime a dozen during the 90’s. Jim Thome was never the player McGwire, Bagwell, and Thomas were.

        Thome, Mcgwire, Thomas, Bagwell, Will Clark, Mark Grace, Fred Mcgriff, Delgado, John Olerud, Jason Giambi, Tino Martinez, Andres Gallaraga. First baseman were not a premium position in the 90’s. Everyone had a good one. To be elected as a first baseman of the 90’s you need otherworldly stats, not just a little better stats.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:25 PM

        Rafael Palmeiro, Mo Vaughn, Eric, Karros, Tim Salmon.

        There were a lot of good first baseman in the 90’s, and there are a lot of good ones today. If he plays any other position, he’s great. He is good.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        More replaceable than Vizquel or Baerga? In the same sentence as Palmeiro, Vaughn, Karros and Salmon? Methinks we need some work on our player evaluation skills.

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 7:06 PM

        Methinks you missed the point. There were a lot of good first baseman in the 90’s til today. Those were just the 90’s 1st basemen that were his competetion. Having a good 1st baseman was not a luxury, it was almost a guarantee. Swap Thome with the 12th best firstbasman of the 90’s and it won’t impact the Indians as much as swapping Lofton, Vizquel, Alomar, or Manny with the 12th best of their position. Hence, they were more valuable.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

        And methinks you missed how much better Thome was than the typical first baseman. Kenny Lofton is a guy who gets no buzz but really should be a fringy Hall of Famer. The difference between Vizquel and the 12th-best SS from 95-01 (Royce Clayton) was 8 fWAR. The difference between Thome and the 12th-best 1B over that same time frame (Tino Martinez) was 15.5 fWAR. So how, again, was Thome less important?

  12. loungefly74 - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    congrats to Thome. The guy deserves to be a HoF. I noticed some people (hitfamily) had their doubts. its quite simple…600 HOME RUNS!!!! my goodness! and the guy steered clear of controversy. he is a 1st ballot. case closed.

    I saw that hitfamily mention john olerud…though i was a big olerud fan and he along with will clark and ken griffey, had the sweetest swings in the league…is not a H0F…

  13. FC - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    All Thunderdome is missing is a WS Ring, let’s work it out Twins! Send him to Phillie for a chance (possibly his last) at Glory! He’s basically the power PH we don’t have in Gload. Nah who am I kidding, Phillie is dead last in the waiver wire, no way all 28 other teams will pass him up.

    • FC - Aug 16, 2011 at 9:38 AM

      BTW I Know it’s pronounced Toe – Me, but THunder dOME TH-OME sounds much nicer!

  14. spudchukar - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Not doubting Thome’s inclusion in the HOF, but let’s face it the HOF isn’t about who were the best players, but who were the most illustrious. From reading the above comments, the magic ingredient appears to be slugging. Other players like Olerud or Martinez and are disqualified because they didn’t amass some magic number like 3000 hits or 600 HRs, and played their careers out of the limelight.(Limelight being NE). In my mind both were better hitters than Thome. But it is the HR hitters who sit in the Hall, and not the all-round tough outs, or exceptional fielders like Martinez, Olerud, and soon Vizquel.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:37 PM

      Triple slash #s:

      Olerud – .295/.398/.465
      Martinez – .312/.418/.515
      Thome – .277/.403/.558

      You’re right in that OBP is far more valuable as a hitter than SLG. But Olerud isn’t a better hitter than Thome is. Martinez is roughly equal (559 batting runs vs 610 but in 1400 less PA).

      • Reflex - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM

        Far as I am concerned Edgar should be in easily. Olerud is a close call, and it depends on how much people need a 1B to be a prototypical slugger vs a great defender and consistently elite hitter in every sense but the long ball….

  15. ronjon77 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Going to the hall of fame just ain’t what it used to be. “Dad, where is the all time hits leader? What about the all time Home run leader? The RBI leader ? ” Thome may deserve to be in the hall but some explaining will be needed why 2 or 3 better than him at his position didn’t make it.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Patience finally paying off for Royals fans
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2866)
  2. D. Ortiz (2006)
  3. M. Trout (1980)
  4. A. Pagan (1976)
  5. A. Pujols (1931)
  1. J. Hamilton (1878)
  2. N. Arenado (1811)
  3. G. Stanton (1785)
  4. H. Ramirez (1776)
  5. C. Kershaw (1735)