Jim Thome’s playing career appears to officially be over, as the slugging first baseman and designated hitter has joined the Chicago White Sox front office. He’s been named as a Special Assistant to GM Rick Hahn. According to a release by the team he’ll consult with Hahn and Assistant GM Buddy Bell, work directly with the organization’s staff and players at the Major League level, and travel to the minor league affiliates to conduct player evaluations.
A 13th Round selection in the 1989 Draft, Thome first arrived in the Major Leagues as a third baseman for the Cleveland Indians in 1991. He’d transition across the diamond to first with relative ease, but it was his bat that made Thome a threat. He’d spent 13 years in the heart of the Indians lineup, batting a combined .287/.414/.566 with 337 HR and 937 RBI. Three times he’d lead the league in walks. He’d play in three All Star Games, finish in the Top 25 in MVP voting a total of five times, and won a Silver Slugger Award. He’d depart via free agency following the 2002 season.
Thome spent the better part of four years with the White Sox towards the latter end of his career, traded to the team in late November in a move that shipped Aaron Rowand, Gio Gonzalez, and Daniel Haigwood to the Philadelphia Phillies. From 2006 until 2009 he’d hit .265/.391/.542 in just over 2,100 PA, while mashing 139 HR. By this point in his career he was strictly relegated to designated hitter duties, but he was still a force in the middle of a lineup.
In addition to the Indians, Phillies, and White Sox Thome also spent time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, and Baltimore Orioles before his 22 year career came to an end following the 2012 season. Thome attracted little interest on the free agent market this past winter and has remained unsigned since. He finishes with a career line of .276/.402/.554 with 612 HR and 1,699 RBI. His teams reached the World Series twice, losing in 1995 to Atlanta and in 1997 to Florida. Add in five All Star Game appearances, nine Top 25 finishes in MVP voting (including five of six years from 2001 to 2006), and he’s almost assuredly a future Hall of Famer.