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Jim Thome: Louisville Slugger Living Legend Award Recipient

Jim Thome
Bill Petrello

Yesterday, Jim Thome was honored with the 2022 Louisville Slugger Living Legend Award. NEOSI was there for the ceremony as former players, managers, friends and fans all gathered at the Louisville Slugger Museum for the festivities Friday evening!

(Bill Kostroun / AP)

The award, given annually since 2007, is given to a legendary baseball player who not only excelled on the field but also through his philanthropic efforts during and after his career.


Living Legend Award

Deana Lockman, a huge Cleveland fan and Executive Director of Experiences at Hillerich & Bradsby Co., shared the idea behind the award


“The Living Legend Award is reserved for those players who exhibit larger than life abilities, both on the field and off the field. Jim Thome’s distinguished baseball career makes him one of the greatest in sports, but it’s his on-going commitment to community that makes him a true Living Legend.”


Thome, when playing, would often assist in fundraising efforts for organizations in the cities he played. These included Make-A-Wish foundations, United Way, The Tug McGraw Foundation, and the Children’s Hospital of Illinois in his hometown of Peoria, where he and his wife continue their efforts today.


Jim Thome’s Playing Career

Thome, a 13th round pick by the Cleveland Indians out of Illinois Central College, started his major league career in 1989 and played with Cleveland until 2002, helping his club to two World Series appearances. He also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, and shortly for the Twins, Dodgers and finally the Orioles, until his retirement.

Thome bats

Bill Petrello, NEOSI

Jim’s bats, including the one he hit his 500th home run, a walk off for the White Sox.

Hall of Fame

The Baseball Hall of Fame called Thome’s name in 2018. And for good reason. His career numbers are staggering! Jim’s 612 home runs rank 8th all time. Thome’s keen eye allowed him to have 1747 base on balls, ranking him 7th all-time. And, in the history of baseball no one has more walk-off homeruns than Jim. Yep! Not even the Babe!


In fact, only six players in the history of the game totaled 1,700 walks and 1,699 RBIs: Babe Ruth, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Carl Yazstremski, Barry Bonds, and Thome!


Add this to his legend: Bonds, Ruth, Williams, former teammate Manny Ramirez, Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas, Jimmie Fox and Thome all have career-wise at least 500 HRs, a .400 on-base percentage and a .550 slugging percentage.


Former Award Winners

Jim Thome joins these fellow Hall of Famers as Award winners!

Derek Jeter (2021)

Mike Schmidt (2019) 

Frank Thomas (2017) 

Dave Winfield (2016)

Andre Dawson (2015) 

Ozzie Smith (2014)

Cal Ripken, Jr. (2013) 

Tony Gwynn (2012)

Johnny Bench (2011) 

Ernie Banks (2010) 

Hank Aaron (2009)

Frank Robinson (2008)

Ken Griffey, Jr. (2007)

Part Two: Jim Thome’s views on baseball and life from his press conference Friday evening.

I am a math teacher in SW Ohio. Born and raised in NE Ohio, I am married with four sons who keep the flame burning for all things Cleveland. I cover soccer, betting, football and anything that focuses on the human side of sports.



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