Jim Thome breaks records
With Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle gone, Jim Thome stood alone in 2001 to chase down and take over Belle’s franchise mark of 242 home runs. Thome started the season only six back, but by the end of 2002, his last year before moving on to Philadelphia, Thome would smash the record and finish his run at 334 (now it’s 337 due to his brief return in 2011). Thome pushed the homerun total so far out of reach that the only person within shouting distance is 34-year-old Carlos Santana, who’s just under 130 dingers away currently. His record is all but untouchable as of right now. Francisco Lindor is only at 130 home runs, with Jose Ramirez at 110.
No other active Indian has more than a hundred home runs. For a quick comparison, let’s look at the league’s best hitter, Mike Trout. Trout’s been in the majors since 2011. In that time he’s hit 285 home runs. It would take him at least another two years to make up the 52 home run differential. That would mean he’s played for nearly a decade to get to Thome’s record. Now, Trout plays for the Angles, not the Indians. Just keep that in mind though, how long it would take the world’s best hitter to even get to Thome’s record.
The other record that seems more gettable but still less likely to happen is Thome’s single-season record. Thome entered the last series of the season against the Kansas City Royals tied with Belle at 50 home run’s a piece. Thome needed just one in three games to break the record. Sure enough on September 27, 2002, in the middle of a close game, Thome would take Wes Obermueller deep to break the record. On the 28th, Thome would take Jeremy Affeldt deep as well, in what would be the start to a comeback win.
Those two home runs may be lost to time for many due to the Indians‘ dismal 2002 season but as a 16-year-old kid watching Thome round the base for what would end up being the last time, my memories of those home run’s are still part of me today. They connect me to my youth, and to a simpler time.
That’s what baseball does, at its core, it takes you back to a simpler time.