Jim Thome‘s statue will be unveiled before Saturday’s Indians’ game, which had Cleveland.com columnist Terry Pluto questioning the organization’s decision to give the Thomenator such a permanent gift.
Thome was a great player–a future Hall of Famer, for sure–but Pluto wonders if a statue should do more than honor a player with elite numbers.
“The Thome statue should represent more than Thome. It should say something about Tribe baseball in the 1990s after the move into Jacobs (now Progressive) Field in 1994.”
Whether or not Thome is deserving of a statue could put actually put the Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love debate on hold.
But the fact is Thome gave Indians’ fans a lot of memories, when just a few years before his career took off, not many people gave the Tribe a second thought.
Yes, Thome broke a lot of hearts when he left for the Philadelphia Phillies following the 2002 season, but it’s rare for a player to spend his whole career with one team.
Are other players of the 1990s are more deserving? Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel could all have their cases made. But so could the argument Larry Doby deserves to be immortalized in bronze because his contributions were bigger than the game.
But finding statues at ball parks these days is easier than finding peanut shells under the seats. Lots of teams have memorialized their players with statues–some more than others. The Reds have five, The St. Louis Cardinals have seven. Heck, the Colorado Rockies built a statue right in front of Coors Field and named it “The Fan,” in a tribute to Branch Rickey.
The point is that statues can always be added. The Bob Feller statue has been the only bronze fixture outside of Progressive Field since the park opened in 1994. Some kind of Doby tribute is long overdue, and as Pluto writes, the fans deserve some sort of recognition for the consecutive sellout streak of the mid-90s.
When Thome is recognized Saturday, don’t begrudge him. Embrace the former slugger, and look forward to seeing his monument outside of the stadium for years to come. Thome will one day be enshrined in Cooperstown and was never suspected of PED use. He hit 337 of his 612 home runs in a Tribe uniform and helped a city rediscover its love affair with baseball.
Is Thome the most deserving? Probably not. But don’t let that get in the way of the celebration.
• Cleveland Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is on a collection binge. His desire? Assets. By trading Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera, the Tribe received a big-league ready shortstop and a highly-ranked center field prospect from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The trade deadline has passed, but the Indians are in position to do some dealing this offseason.
• The Buckeyes entered the USA Today Coaches’ Poll ranked No. 6. Buckeye Nation should be fine with this. We all think they’re better than this, but remember, it’s not where you start, it’s where you finish.
• In Browns town, Johnny Manziel said adjusting to the NFL game will “take some time.”
• Josh Gordon will have his appeal heard today, as the former Pro Bowler missed practice Thursday as he headed to New York for his date in NFL court.
Gordon’s attempt to get a reduced suspension will be by far the biggest Hail Mary the two-year pro has ever been a part of, but there is a chance Gordon could negotiate a shortened sentence.
• From Sports Illustrated video, Karlos Dansby is ready to lead the Browns defense.