These days, there are fewer and fewer class acts in professional sports. One of them comes from my area. His name is Jim Thome, and he doesn’t use steroids; he just hits home runs.
Yesterday, Jim Thome passed Mark McGwire on the home run leader board by hitting his 583rd and 584th home runs. Actually, the first one to right field was so much of a monster that it could have been averaged with a double play ball and still been counted.
Neil Becker has posted an article on Gather titled “Jim Thome passes Mark McGwire on MLB homerun list.” I have linked to the home runs.
Jim Thome grew up in my area. I live in Peoria, Illinois, which is just a few miles from Bartonville. Thome attended Limestone High School, and of course excelled at baseball.
What makes Thome truly special is that, considering how successful he has been in the Major League, a lot of people know little of him. That is because he does not promote himself. He lets his work on the field speak for him.
Thome was voted by his teammates as the “Second Nicest Player” in the Major Leagues. He proves it in the acts he performs off the field.
First of all, he pays for all of his nieces and nephews — of which there are 10 — to go to college. He had a nephew who was hurt very bad and asked Thome to hit a home run for him. Thome hit two.
Also, he has been very active for breast cancer awareness. His mother died of breast cancer.
Jim Thome has done, in my opinion, a lot for the reputation of baseball. He has remained someone a parent can point to a child and say “Look, you don’t have to use steroids to be great.” Thome slowly but surely has walked over the tainted records of other hitters who have sold their souls to a drug in order to achieve fleeting fame that ultimately vanishes.
There was no braggadocio when Thome was asked if he would or could catch Babe Ruth’s home run record. His response was “…I think I’ll be fishing by then.”
I’m not as quick to give up on him.
Gather Website, Neil Becker, “Jim Thome passes Mark McGwire on MLB homerun list”