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  1. Jim Thome wasn’t “mostly a DH”. He started 1,557 games at 1B & 3B combined…that’s out of 2,310 total starts. So, for more than 2/3 of his career, he played the field.

    Far more than Molitor for example who started just 56% of his games in the field or Edgar who started just 27% of his total games in the field.

    Comment by NEPP — August 16, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  2. Haters can also point to the .217 BA and .320 OBP in 251 postseason PA and the lack of a World Series title for additional reasons not to vote for him.

    For what it’s worth, I’d have him in.

    Comment by Joe — August 16, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  3. Shouldn’t the fact that Thome is perceived as not taking PED’s help him? He was an elite (oops, “consistently great”) hitter during an era when supposedly everyone else was getting their performance enhanced. Maybe that is too optimistic of a view of the voters, but it seems like he should get some extra points for most likely having to perform against a stacked deck.

    Comment by Ben Miller — August 16, 2011 @ 11:16 am

  4. He’s a 1st ballot guy in my book.

    Comment by NEPP — August 16, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  5. Unless some PED evidence pops up, he’s in on the first ballot. Voters love homeruns and everyone in the league loves the guy.

    Comment by Eminor3rd — August 16, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  6. I don’t know if Chris changed it after seeing your comment, but he doesn’t say mostly… he says “he spent the final chunk of his career as a DH”. Again, don’t know if it’s been corrected or not.

    Comment by Santos — August 16, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  7. “Due to his personality — and the general praise he’s received from everyone around baseball — it would truly be a shock if Thome took steroids.”

    I’m not sure what this means. He’s too nice to take PEDs? “Only meanies take drugs” seems like a sentiment from a 1980s after-school special rather than reality-based analysis. I remember Mark McGwire being a pretty well-liked fellow. Jason Giambi is a beloved character in every clubhouse he’s been in.

    I’d certainly be surprised if Thome took steroids, since he was always a huge guy, but it shouldn’t be a “shock” to find out any player from the ’90s-’00s era took steroids.

    Comment by Jamie — August 16, 2011 @ 11:22 am

  8. I know he played in a different era and position, but I’ve always thought of Thome as the modern day Eddie Mathews:

    Comment by Ray — August 16, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  9. Just because Thome isn’t linked to steroids doesn’t mean he didn’t take them. He rides the “nice guy” perception and he’s a big, burly guy anyway so people tend to not even raise the question. Is that fair that the subject is not even brought up about a hitter who played through the steroid era? Steroids weren’t banned until the start of 2005, and while I don’t think his integrity would allow him to cheat the rules, he could well have taken them prior to Bud Selig getting his head out of the sand. For what it’s worth, I’m of the ilk that says, ‘vote all the deserving players in, steroids/scandals or not.’ All I’m saying is we shouldn’t let the perception that he is clean give him a relative boost to other sluggers of the generation. That he’s a nice guy is great, but Pete Rose and Ty Cobb weren’t great guys and in my book, both belong in the hall.

    Comment by Wet Socks — August 16, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  10. He changed it. It said “mainly a DH” on the first read-through…which I very poorly quoted as “mostly”

    Comment by NEPP — August 16, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  11. Thome is a no-brainer. What’s surprising to me is that he only reached 7 WAR two times, and one of those was just barely there. I just remember him from his Cleveland days being such a force, I expected the look back and realize a Pujols-ian level of dominance, and it turns out he wasn’t quite on that level. He’s still an easy Hall of Famers.

    Comment by Bronnt — August 16, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  12. Ty Cobb belongs in the hall of fame in the official book as well as your own.

    Comment by Santos — August 16, 2011 @ 11:46 am

  13. i tend to think he didn’t take PEDs, but i’ve never really understood the “nice guys don’t roid” argument.

    Comment by hillman — August 16, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  14. While they likely won’t play a huge role in Thome’s candidacy, PEDs will come up in the debate. Due to his personality — and the general praise he’s received from everyone around baseball — it would truly be a shock if Thome took steroids. People just seem to assume that Thome is clean, so this issue might not affect him as much as some of the other power hitters from his era. Still, some writer/voter will bring them up.

    IMO, more writers will bring up his “non-PED use” and it will actually work in his favor.

    The overall perception will be while Sammy, McGwire, and Bonds roided their way to the record books and milestones (my opinion of what the perception will be, not necessarily my opinion), Thome and Thomas did it “the right way”.

    Thome has earned his “good guy image” and it’s based more on his charitable service to his community and his hometown than his “aw shucks” demeanor and tone. Jim Thome is simply a very humble and nice guy. However, Mark McGwire was the same way, often being praised for his admittance of being an abused child and helping other abused children. Being nice doesn’t exclude one from being a PED user.

    When I see “images” of Thome in my mind, it’s always when he was part of that MONSTER Indians lineup. Seriously Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome … with Lofton and Omar playing all the defense.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  15. Yeah, I think this one is obvious to voters. Despite the fact he doesn’t have the MVP’s or the rings, he’s got the traditional back-of-the-card stats. It’s not like you need to delve into arguments about park adjustments, playing in a pitcher’s era, the value of defense, or positional arguments.

    For ten years (1995-2004), Thome had an OPS over 1.000 and averaged 40 HR’s, 100 RBI’s, and 100 runs a season. And he’s got 600 homers. Boom, end of conversation for most voters.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — August 16, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  16. Oh yeah, Thome gets into the HoF 1st ballot.

    600 HRs, without PED admissions and/or strong suspicions, is still hall-worthy (traditionally).

    Or his 71 WAR puts in him 1st ballot as well.

    However you look at it, Thome is a HoF … unless you think he did PED and wnat to use that against him.

    I didn;t remeber him playing 3B, but its listed as his position for some years.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  17. David Ortiz.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — August 16, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  18. I’ve given up on trying to predict how the writers will vote. Bagwell was never implicated in any PED scandals but he didn’t come close on his first attempt. He was guilty of being a guy who hit a lot of homeruns in the steroid era and apparently the writers held that against him. Some will probably remind us how Thome was a much leaner looking player when he came up and use circumstantial evidence to speculate on what he did or did not do. It does seem like some writers are already championing him as “the clean slugger” (along with Thomas) so maybe he’ll escape a lot of the scrutiny Bagwell has had to endure.

    It’s all an exercise in futility. He should get in, and it should be an easy call. He probably will but, in the end, who really knows?

    Comment by Misfit — August 16, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  19. Frank Thomas disagrees with your last sentence

    Comment by Matt — August 16, 2011 @ 11:59 am

  20. It’s pretty astounding that in 2010, his age 40 season, Thome compiled 3.2 WAR in only 340 PAs as a DH.

    Comment by Mike B. — August 16, 2011 @ 11:59 am



    Comment by TomG — August 16, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

  22. Really. How could anyone be surprised by a steroid allegation/admission about anyone?

    Comment by JohnnyComeLately — August 16, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

  23. There’s more to it than that. It wasn’t just that Bags hit home runs. It has more to do with him transforming from a scrawny minor leaguer with average power to a big dude that started hitting lots of homers.

    Bagwell doubled his seasonal HR output. That it coincided with both [1] a very noticeable change in musculature and [2] the steroid era, may just be coincidental. If he is clean, it’s an unfortunate situation for him. But the suspicion is ~valid.

    I think the perception of Thome is that he was a big strong guy that hit long homers with great plate discipline from beginning to end. His power and value didn’t “come out of nowhere”. He is who we thought he was, so to speak.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  24. Very astute commentary.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — August 16, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  25. Yirmi – you’re not familiar with the Dugout are you?

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — August 16, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  26. If the Hall committee insists on using the character clause to keep people out, it’s only fair to give Thome credit for his character.

    Comment by Daern — August 16, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  27. The suspicion for Bagwell is valid in the same way that it is for anyone who played in that era. To play devil’s advocate, Thome wasn’t a real big guy when he came up and a lot of the arguments for him as a clean guy were the same as what was being utterred about David Ortiz until it was revealed he flunked the ’03 test. If a writer wishes to cast suspicion on Thome, he or she could do so easily since apparently enough voters are willing to go off of flimsy circumstantial evidence.

    My personal stance is that anyone who played during that period could have been on the juice and the fact that anyone is championed as being a clean player is amusing. Thome, Jeter, and all of the other so-called clean players are just as clean as anyone else who didn’t get caught and trying to determine who is and isn’t an abuser of steroids is silly. And with no standard set forth by the BBWAA on how to approach the voting process it becomes difficult to project who gets in and who doesn’t.

    If I had a vote I’d treat everyone the same and vote based on merit, and based on that merit, Thome is an easy choice to go to Cooperstown.

    Comment by Misfit — August 16, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  28. And also, open Nandro usage.

    Comment by James — August 16, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  29. Rafael Palmerio was another one of those character guys who wasn’t suspected at first, if I remember correctly. The PED issue should just be dropped. Baseball has a long, long history of cheaters. If I was a voter, I would vote for Thome, but it sure wouldn’t be because I thought he was clean.

    Comment by jkafka — August 16, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  30. Steroids weren’t banned until 2005? Steroids have been explicitly banned in MLB since June 1991 when Commissioner Faye Vincent added steroids to the banned substances list. The owners and the players just never got around to adding a provision for testing under their CBA, thus implicitly encouraging the use of steroids in their sport. Testing for steroids for Major League players actually began in 2004, but players were tested only once during the season and they were given advanced notice of the test. Unannounced testing wasn’t instituted until 2005, and off-season testing didn’t begin until the end of the 2005 season.

    Comment by GMH — August 16, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  31. I don’t know. There was never any PED evidence against Bagwell, just suspicion, and he didn’t come close. As good as Thome has been, Bagwell was better:

    Comment by Ben Hall — August 16, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  32. Seems like the only argument against Thome is “guilty until proven innocent”.

    He deserves The Hall, as do the likes of Bagwell and Thomas. The BBWAA needs to get their act together instead of drawing on rumors and guesswork.

    Comment by TheGrandslamwich — August 16, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

  33. Thome was Cleveland’s third baseman until the Indians traded a package of players including some guy named Jeff Kent in exchange for Matt Williams after the 1996 season. Williams was traded to the D-Backs after one season with the Indians.

    Comment by GMH — August 16, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

  34. Jim Thome is a big old farm boy. Have some people never been around big old farm boys? That dude never struck me as someone who was likely using steroids.

    Also: Now that Thome has hit #600, shouldn’t some contender want to trade for this guy? Seems like an upgrade over Ross Gload (LH pinch hitter) in Philly to me, and he’d certainly be a great fit in that Philly clubhouse…

    Comment by Robbie G. — August 16, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  35. Saying steroids weren’t banned until 2005 is like saying shooting other players still isn’t banned. You don’t need a rule about doing something illegal.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 16, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  36. have you ever heard of roid rage?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 16, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

  37. I agree with you, the far that he is generally viewed as PED free will play to his favor. “making an example” works in both ways. They have five or six years from now for accusations, but I can’t imagine there will be any.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 16, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

  38. @ Misfit

    Fair points.

    Rookie Jim Thome×300.jpg

    Rookie Jeff Bagwell

    Prime Thome

    Prime Bagwell


    Wow, Thome doesn’t appear to be “as big” in his prime as I thought he would be.

    I’m also not certain you can tell much from Bagwell and Thome’s pictures, especially with baggy jerseys on. I won’t draw any conclusions from the pictures.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  39. I think the Twins management is on “don’t mess with a good thing” mode. They are (very obviously) not going to make the post season but they have attendance that remains at sellout levels. Thome is a huge part of that draw; the farm boy attitude plays well in Minnesota (see Prairie Home Companion).

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 16, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  40. And also, open Nandro usage.

    Androsteinedione (Andro) was an OTC pro-hormone at the time. You or I (or McGwire) could have purchased it from GNC and used it in most professional and amatuer events at that time. I don;t think you can penalize athletes for using legal supplements, even if they become illegal later. For years, athletes used clenbuterol (a diuretic), and it was included in “fat burning” supplements, and now it’s a banned substance in almost every organization.

    Obviously, at this time, McGwire wasn’t solely using Andro (if he was using it at all). I know myself and buddies were all thinking “nice diversion” when McGwire left the Andro container sitting in his locker for all to see.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  41. This is just wrong. Some of the minor league ballparks Bagwell played in depressed offense a ton. New Britain in particular was notorious for being among the worst hitting parks in the minor leagues. Winter Haven wasn’t much better.

    In addition, when Bagwell first came up the run scoring environment was different. It wasn’t until 1993/94, after Florida and Colorado joined up, that the offensive explosion began in full force. In Bagwell’s first three seasons it was well known he had considerable power. In fact, during his rookie year Bagwell hit a ball into the upper deck at the old Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, that still stands today as the longest HR ever hit to LF there.

    All Bagwell really did in later years was he started to turn some of his doubles into HR’s…and he’s hardly the first good young hitter to ever accomplish that as he entered his prime years.

    Comment by razor — August 16, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  42. Thome is #5 on the all time non-asteresked (in the court of public opinion) home run list. No counting stat trumps that. There is no way he doesn’t get on in the first ballot. The issues you named above might put him in the low 90s for the vote instead of high 90s.

    I really doubt there will be questions about his PED use now either. all of the known PED users are either slowing down substantially (A Rod’s AB/HR is now even out of the elite power hitter range at 25 and 17.4 in 2010. while Thome is at 16.8 in 2011 and 11.0 in 2010. BTW, what did Thome hit when he was A Rod’s age? 11.0 AB/HR.

    If a guy can hit a home run in every 11 at bats at least five years after his last juice, why would he juice in the first place?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 16, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  43. That was awesome to see. Easily a hall of famer.

    Comment by MauerPower — August 16, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  44. Thome was so overlooked and unappreciated. 2002 is one great example of this. He came in a mere 8th in the MVP voting, yet he was leading the world in OPS+ at nearly 200. He also had 8.1 WAR, which was better than any of the top 7 vote getters except A-Rod who had 8.2. I remember Tejada had a huge part in leading the A’s to the playoffs that season and got all the press, but really… Thome’s numbers were as solid or stronger than Tejada’s that year. I won’t get into every season, but you guys can delve in and see how underappreciated he’s been during his career.

    Comment by Devon Young — August 16, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  45. Meritwise, you’re right about Bagwell and Thome, but voters are going to see 600+ HR very differently from 449.

    Comment by philosofool — August 16, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  46. There is ZERO chance of him clearing waivers to the Phillies (last in priority).

    Low contract, good production…someone will claim him first.

    Comment by NEPP — August 16, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  47. What’s shocking to me is with all that has come out about roiders, guys like Thome aren’t above suspicion while guys like Derek Jeter are. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t suspect either of them or anyone else based on conjecture, but why is the focus always on big homerun hitters when dozens of non-mashers where in the Mitchell Report? Why do people think they can come up with accurate criteria for what a roider is absent a scintilla of evidence?

    Comment by TK — August 16, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  48. I don’t think this was meant to be an argument, just a comment about the general perception of steroids in baseball. If you’re a jerk publicly, people will tend to think you do things (they think) jerks do. If you’re not a jerk, they will think you don’t do things (they think) only jerks do.

    Like it or not, reputation has a big influence on how people perceive you. It’s not necessarily a rational way to gauge people, but it makes a difference.

    Comment by philosofool — August 16, 2011 @ 3:14 pm

  49. I always thought the “big old farm boy” and “country strong” memes are a bit jingoistic if not outright racist. You only hear that reference for strong white players when there are plenty of farms in Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico, etc. whereas the Latin players get the assumed PED whispers if they weigh over 230.

    Jason Heyward grew up in a rural Georgia town and goes 6’5 240 (bigger than Thome even) but you’ll never hear anyone call him a big old farm boy.

    Comment by Joe — August 16, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  50. It’s not fair. Their shouldn’t be a character clause. Someone responded to my earlier post, and yes I’m aware Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame. He was a Grade-A jerk and a bigot and a racist and yet his performance warranted induction. That’s all we should be looking at and being a “hall of fame person” shouldn’t make someone any more worthy of Cooperstown than their on-field performance.

    Comment by Derek — August 16, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  51. Roids are directly related to developing raw strength. As such, players that present a specific skill exceptionally, especially HR’s, are usually more likely to have used illegal substances.

    I don’t think Thome used them (and I certainly hope to never hear about him using PEDs), but there certainly will be rumors fluttering about before his first HoF vote.

    Comment by TheGrandslamwich — August 16, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  52. I’ve always heard that the biggest advantage of steroids was stamina and the ability to recover from injury.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — August 16, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

  53. I hear “country strong” and “big country” said about black football players now and again (particularly in college). I also don’t hear white kids described as “street smart” very often. It could be that broadcasters are hesitant to do so about a black player from a rural southern state because of historical context reasons.

    Steve McNair referred to himself as “country strong”, and I just watched a special on a black NFL lineman that referred to himself as a “dark redneck” and “good ol country boy” as he was working his farm during the lockout.

    It happens, but it’s not often for obvious reasons.

    Jim Thome grew up in Peoria, IL … not exactly rural, but indeed in the Cornbelt.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 4:38 pm

  54. Belle was a decent defender in LF and Manny was generally thought of as a decent fielder with a very strong arm in RF.

    Comment by AA — August 16, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  55. There is not one single player from the ’90s for whom it “truly would be a shock” to find out that he had used some kind of PED at one time or another, at least briefly. Not Thome, not Maddux, not Jeter — nobody. Has the author learned nothing from the last five years of revelations?

    Comment by Jay Levin — August 16, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  56. Labeling him a “compiler”, insinuating that it he got his stats through longevity, is a distortion of the facts and an insult to a great player. Only Babe Ruth reached 600 HR in less AB.

    Comment by dan — August 16, 2011 @ 6:09 pm

  57. Re: Ty Cobb

    Check this out … and be sure to click through to the link at the end. It’s a long piece, but apparently there’s reason to believe Cobb wasn’t quite as jerky as people now think.

    Comment by CKrome — August 16, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  58. this just in.. Juan Pierre and Scot Podsednik tested positive for PED’s! surprised yet? (i am of course, kidding)

    Comment by Cidron — August 16, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

  59. and THAT is why this whole era is fubarred.. The presumed GUILT even without a hint of ped taint. If you have good numbers, its ped enhanced. Why cant we have a .. good or great player this era, merely on talent. It happens in other eras. Nooo, we have to assume peds are involved.

    Comment by Cidron — August 16, 2011 @ 9:08 pm

  60. Juan Pierre? Scott Podsednik? Ichiro? any of them taking wouldnt shock you? not exactly what i would call candidates for ped suspicion.

    Comment by Cidron — August 16, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

  61. Compiler = Someone who has A) the talent to fit a teams needs, B) generally excellent health, C) is a good character guy, D) no serious erosion of skills over a long duration of time. In short, someone who STILL has something to contribute over time. Why is that a bad thing again? Sure, it is the anti-Koufax, but, If Hank Aaron can “compile” a ton of homers and get in, with nobody nitpicking it, why cant anybody else get in by compiling? I thought longevity, talent, and health were good things.

    Comment by Cidron — August 16, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  62. Ever heard of former Tiger Roger Cedeno? I’m actually pretty sure sprinters benefit more from PEDs than home run hitters.

    Comment by jkafka — August 16, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  63. You may be just kidding but former Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Alex Sanchez, he of the 6 career home runs in 1650 career PA, actually did test positive for steroids.

    Comment by Larry Smith Jr. — August 16, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

  64. Is it just me or does the sentiment of “good for him, he’s a nice guy” outnumber the ” holy crap Thome hit 600 homers” like 10 to 1?

    He’s 8th on the All-Time HR list. Isn’t that damn impressive?

    This has to be the most uncelebrated major milestone in memory.

    As for the “compiler” label, how many of the major milestones were attained by guys that were still very productive?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 16, 2011 @ 10:50 pm

  65. When you exercise you damage your muscles and when they rebuild (read, recover) they recover stronger. Roids help you with recovery from workouts very well, and make you big and strong.

    If that is what you mean by recovery, then, yes, they help you with recovery.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 17, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  66. He plays for the Twins and MLB doesn’t like the Twins and won’t promote for them, see “if they were contracted, the revenue would go to Milwaukee.”

    Once Thome hit 598, the “one night only” feature on FG should have been tracking him, but didn’t.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — August 17, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  67. It’s fair not to bring up PEDs re: Thome when there’s not an iota of evidence to suggest he took them. I’d apply that standard to the nicest guy or the biggest jerk. When you start doing that, you might as well conjecture over whether he ever shot a guy because he played in an era when the national crime rate rose.

    Comment by Joe P. — August 17, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  68. Yes, opinions like yours are shocking to me,in a communitiy that is supposed to be thoughtful. Look at the 103 names in the Mitchell report and count up their homers. Then come back and apoligize to Jim Thome.

    Comment by TK — August 17, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  69. PED taint. lolololololol.

    Comment by Jack Weiland — August 24, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

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