Early Wednesday evening a few Major League Baseball greats received calls they’ve spent their entire lives waiting for and that will be remembered for the remainder of their time.
You can argue, though, that the time of a baseball Hall of Famer is eternal, the gift given to those who’ve both devoted themselves to and — in their play and overall behavior — provided honor to the national pastime.
Jim Thome’s devoted following in each of his major stops in MLB — Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago and Minnesota (along with short stays in Los Angeles and Baltimore) — would be proof enough of his value to the game. The numbers, including his 612 home runs, good for eighth all time in the Majors, were the clincher.
You can argue for a certain lack of validity to the Hall given its voters continued icing out of generational talents like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (along with more marginal talents like Sammy Sosa who, “assisted” or not, have Hall of Fame numbers) but it is still as of now the place where baseball’s legacy is celebrated most earnestly and its the best place to properly provide oneself with the perspective of what makes a great baseball player.
Jim Thome was a great baseball player and the class he enters the Hall with this year — including Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero — is as satisfying a class to come about in the post-steroid era. Congratulations to all those men who helped make watching baseball and coming of age in the 1990s and early 2000s special.
Jim Thome’s dad sees the hall announcement. This tugs at the heartstrings. (YouTube/Peoria Journal Star)
NBC Sports Chicago’s “Inside Look” special on Thome’s life and career (YouTube/NBC Sports Chicago)
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