By John Dempsey, WLS-AM News
(CHICAGO) The Baseball Writers Association of America has elected former Chicago White Sox designated hitter Jim Thome to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York.
Thome will join Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman as 2018 inductees. The 79th induction ceremonies will be held on Sunday, July 29 in Cooperstown.
Thome reacted to the news on Wednesday from his home in the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge.
“Oh my gosh I don’t know what to say,” said Thome. “This is just an honor and it’s just so special. It’s everybody’s dream to play baseball but to get a call like this today is just incredible.”
Thome, a native of Peoria, played 22 major-league seasons with Cleveland (1991-2002, 2011), Philadelphia (2003-05, 2012), the White Sox (2006-09), Los Angeles-NL (2009), Minnesota (2010-11) and Baltimore (2012), hitting .276 (2,328-8,422) with 451 doubles, 26 triples, 612 home runs, 1,699 RBI, 1,583 runs scored, 1,747 walks, a .402 on-base and .554 slugging percentage in 2,543 career games.
He ranks among baseball’s all-time leaders in numerous categories, including home run ratio (5th, 13.76), home runs (8th), walks (7th, 1,747), OPS (18th, .956), slugging percentage (23rd, .554) and RBI (26th, 1,699). Thome’s 612 homers are the fourth-highest total in major-league history by a left-handed hitter, trailing only Barry Bonds (762), Babe Ruth (714) and Ken Griffey Jr. (630).
The 47 year old Thome becomes the 40th former member of the White Sox organization elected to the Hall of Fame and the second inducted on the first ballot, joining Frank Thomas in 2014. Thome received 89.8 percent (379 of 422 of the votes), surpassing the required 75.0 percent.
“I am honored to offer my congratulations to Jim Thome on his first-ballot election today into Baseball’s Hall of Fame,” said Jerry Reinsdorf, White Sox chairman. “We are so happy for Jim, his wife, Andrea, their children, and Jim’s family in the Peoria area. One of the most feared left-handed power hitters in the history of the game, Jim remains one of the most respected players of his era and one of the most generous people you could ever meet. He epitomizes what it means to be a professional athlete, from his positive attitude to his Midwestern work ethic, from his good works in the community to his honest concern for others. The adjectives come easily when describing Jim Thome … class, strength, honesty, integrity, character, Hall of Famer.”
Thome currently serves the White Sox as a special assistant to Rick Hahn, senior vice president/general manager.
@ 2018 WLS-AM News