With his recent election to the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was wondering about Jim Thome. I remember seeing several Red-Sox Indians games in the late nineties. A couple Pedro Martinez vs Bartolo Colon duels come to mind. So, I knew I had seen Thome at least a little bit. I wondered how he performed in games I attended. There’s only one way to find out. To the scorebooks!
First of all, I should give Thome the benefit of the doubt and point out the small sample size. It’s also worth noting that of the five games I saw Thome, he faced Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball in one game, and had to face Pedro Martinez in two others. (Those were his three hitless games) Just for fun, the Pedro games were April 25 and June 8. Pedro’s numbers in those two games combined? 2-0, 17 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 2 ER, 20 K, 1.06 ERA, 0.65 WHIP. Frankly, the fact that Thome managed to draw one of the three walks should be a major feather in his cap.
Which is a long way of saying that I didn’t see the “real” Jim Thome. But, it wasn’t really his fault. Which is always a little too bad. Sure, I don’t want to see any visiting player perform well against the Sox. But, I saw fellow HOF inductee Vladimir Guerrero hit one of the longest home runs I’ve ever seen in Fenway, so I feel like I truly experienced his greatness. Thome, not so much. Because a .176 batting average is not the stuff of legends. Nor is a sub-.600 OPS.
On the other hand, I got to see Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez dominate Hall of Famer Jim Thome over seven at-bats. Which is pretty cool to be able to say. (It also sounds like something else I should look up. How often did I see a Hall of Fame pitcher face a Hall of Fame batter?)
I still wouldn’t have minded being able to see Thome hit one towering blast, though.
How did Jim Thome do with you in the park?