- To this day, Google is still directing people (mostly those who look for information on "Jim Thome and steroids" or "Jim Thome and the Hall of Fame") to a little post where I suggested that Jim Thome might not make it into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
Since then, he's hit 66 more home runs and is sitting at 564 for his career. That's right, the guy is now 12th all-time, but I still stand by my claim ... Thome will NOT be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Why? My reasoning is the same as it was two years ago.
His home run total, while incredible, will not be as eye popping five years after Thome's retirement.
Basically, we've got a guy who smacked the Hell out of the ball, but was never the most dominant, much less feared, player of his era. And because of that, he'll get lost in the mix.
Sorry to cue up that broken record, but when the news of Thome heading to Los Angeles to join former Indian teammate and fellow bomber Manny Ramirez leads SportsCenter ... I'm compelled to chime in.
Thome was never the most feared player, nor was he ever the most dominant. In one of his better seasons, he finished 15th in the MVP balloting; in another he finished 12th. In his two best seasons, 2001 and 2002, he finished seventh both years. His best showing came in 2003, his first year with the Phillies, when he finished fourth. He's not done better than 12th since.
I am not using Thome's relatively poor showings in the MVP balloting to make the case against him. I'm just saying that the same guys who vote for the MVP's have Hall of Fame ballots, and to this point they've not showed Thome a great deal of love. Of course, those same guys seem to have a great deal of enthusiasm for Omar Vizquel's Hall of Fame case, and Vizquel fared a LOT worse in the MVP balloting than Thome.
So, who knows? There's never been a player with Thome's numbers who hasn't either been elected to the Hall of Fame or been considered a solid candidate. For a lot of reasons, I agree that Thome won't make it on the first ballot. Most Hall of Famers don't make it on their first try. But for just as many reasons, I believe that he'll make it someday. Particularly if he can hit another 36 home runs. And keep his name off any unfortunate lists.