Last night in the 7th inning Jim Thome hit his 600th career home run off Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Daniel Schlereth. That should all but make it a lock on Thome’s hall of fame career. Let’s take a look at just how good his career was.
Thome’s first 3 seasons can be ignored due to injuries, he only played 114 games and had 1 WAR overall. In ’95 he really started to take off, posting a .243 ISO, .438 OBP, .431 wOBA, 159 wRC+ and a 6.3 WAR. Thome had a pretty ridiculous prime, posting absurd numbers from 1996 to 2002. In that tme frame he posted 38.1 of his 71 career WAR. That averages out to 5.4 WAR per season. His ISO in that span was .302, another ridiculous number. His BB% during that time was generally between 15% and 20%, it’s understandable that pitchers feared him due to his crazy power. His K% was a little high, floating between 22% and 28% but he more then made up with it due to his power. He also had some high BABIP numbers throughout his career, his highest being .369 in ’95 but during his career his BABIP has tended to be higher, his career BABIP is .321.
Thome’s best season is without a doubt his ’96 season when he posted a career best 7.9 WAR. That season he put up a .301 ISO, .450 OBP, .449 wOBA, 61.6 wRAA and a 163 wRC+. Like always he had an extremely high BB% that season, walking 19.3% of the time. His K% was a respectable 22.2%.
While he had a excellent prime, his career stats are just as good. He has a .281 ISO, which is good for 9th all-time. To put that in perspective he’s ahead of the likes of Micky Mantle (20), Willie Mays (21) and Joe DiMaggio (22). Not bad if you ask me. He also has a career .403 OBP to go along with a career .406 wOBA. His career wRC+ is 145, another solid number. Like I mentioned before his career BABIP is .321, at this point in his career that shouldn’t change at all. Thome is also walking 17.1% of the time and striking out 24.5% of the time, both great numbers, all things considering. We know he wasn’t much of a defender so most of his value comes offensively, the majority from his power.
To me this says hall of famer right off the bat. There’s one guy who had a similar career to Thome who isn’t in the hall of fame who should be. His name is Jeff Bagwell. Let’s check out this graph and since all three had similar careers and career WAR I put in Frank Thomas too.
As you can see, all have had very similar careers. It’s a crime that bagwell isn’t in but that may be a post for another day. The bottom line is Jim Thome is a Hall of Famer and the other two are as well.
Again, congrats on number 600 Jim Thome. I will always remember watching you reach history in a Minnesota Twins uniform.