(670 The Score) Former White Sox slugger Jim Thome has been honored for his storied career.
Thome was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday evening, garnering 89.9 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot. Players had to receive 75 percent or more of the vote to reach the Hall of Fame.
Also voted into the Hall of Fame were Chipper Jones (97.2 percent), Vladimir Guerrero (92.9) and Trevor Hoffman (79.9 percent).
Thome, 47, was a 22-year MLB veteran and five-time All-Star, including during the 2006 season when he played for the White Sox. He ranks eighth in MLB history with 612 homers. Of those, 337 came with the Indians, for whom he played his first 12 years in the big leagues.
Thome hit 134 homers for the White Sox from 2006-’09, including his 500th career homer in September 2007. He also played for the Phillies, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles.
Thome is the 40th former member of the White Sox to be elected to the Hall of Fame. He and Frank Thomas are the only two of those to be voted in on the first ballot.
“It’s about sweat equity and getting after it and understanding every that that you’re a Major League Baseball player,” Thome said in an interview on MLB Network after the announcement. “You have to look in the mirror and know there will be positives and negatives.
“How do you come back the next day and adjust to what they’re doing to you?”
Included in Thome’s power totals were 13 walk-off homers, the most in MLB history. His 1,699 RBIs rank 26th in MLB history, and his .554 slugging percentage ranks 23rd. Thome’s 1,747 walks are seventh all time.
Thome is a native of Peoria who was selected in the 13th round of the 1989 amateur draft out of Illinois Central College. He holds a role now in the White Sox’s front office, serving as a special assistant to general manager Rick Hahn.
Arguably Thome’s most iconic moment in Chicago came when he hit a solo homer for the lone run in his team’s 1-0 win against the Twins in the AL Central tiebreaker contest — Game 163 — in 2008, a blast that vaulted the White Sox into the playoffs.
“I am honored to offer my congratulations to Jim Thome on his first-ballot election today into Baseball’s Hall of Fame,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “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.”
The 2018 Hall of Fame class will be inducted in Cooperstown, New York on July 29. The class will also include Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, who were both elected by the Modern Era committee back in December.
Former Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa once again fell far short of Hall of Fame status, garnering about 8 percent of the vote.