Jim Thome played professional baseball for 25 years, and six big-league teams. He last played for the Baltimore Orioles during the 2012 campign, but the future-Hall-of-Famer can say he ended his career with the Cleveland Indians.
Thome announced he signed a one-day, honorary contract with the Tribe during the unveiling of his statue in center field before Saturday’s game against the Texas Rangers.
“I always had hope I could do it as a Cleveland Indian,” Thome said. “This afternoon, I signed an honorary one day contract so i could make a dream come true.”
“I’m humbled and gratefuil to announce after a 25 year career, I’m officially retiring tonight as a member of the Cleveland Indians.”
Past and present faces of the franchise spoke at the ceremony, including president Mark Shapiro, former managers Mike Hargrove and Charlie Manuel. Manuel’s speech was the most emotional, as the skipper managed and coached Thome as the future Hall-of-Famer worked his way through the minor leagues.
Thome hit 337 of his 612 career homers with the Indians. The statue is 511 feet away from home plate, and stands on the spot Thome hit a legendary home run against the Kansas City Royals on July 3, 1999. The moonshot is longest homer hit in the history of Progressive Field.
The Indians also retired Thome’s jersey before the game. The five-time All Star threw out the first pitch of the game to long-time teammate, Sandy Alomar.