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Sports


Jim Thome to retire as a Cleveland Indian
The franchise's home run leader signs honorary, one-day contract as his statue is unveiled at Progressive Field
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Many baseball greats eventually end up in New York or Boston. But Jim Thome grew up in Illinois and wanted to play for Midwest teams.
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In The Region:
Thome has not played since 2012, but he had not retired, either, taking a job with the White Sox last year as special assistant to the general manager.

But on Saturday, as his statue was unveiled at Progressive Field, Thome signed a one-day contract with the team, retiring as an Indian.  He will be eligible for Hall of Fame induction in 2018.

Thome's statue captures his point-the-bat hitting stance, a powerful symbol of the most successful era in Cleveland Indians' history.

Thome hit 337 homers for Cleveland -- a franchise record -- while playing here from 1991-2002 and again in 2011.

Thome joins some select company. His statue stands in the team's Heritage Park behind center field and is adjacent to one honoring Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller.

With Thome in the lineup, the Indians won six AL Central titles, advanced to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 and played in front of 455 consecutive sellout crowds.

Thome had a most unique stance. He would point his bat toward the pitcher to get ready, then pull it back and prepare to swing.

Related Links & Resources
Rain delay fails to dampen opening day enthusiasm

Character comes through: Thome's triumph


Related WKSU Stories

Rain delay fails to dampen opening day enthusiasm
Friday, April 4, 2014

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