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What Jim Thome’s 600th career home run would mean to Cleveland: A fan’s perspective
Jim Thome(notes), designated hitter for the Minnesota Twins sits at 598 career home runs. The Twins face the Boston Red Sox at home in a three game series before traveling to face the Cleveland Indians on August 12-14 at Progressive Field.
The Cleveland Indians drafted Thome in 1989 in the 13th round. He made his major league debut in 1991 and played with the team through 2002 including the glory days for the Tribe during the mid-1990s. He was always a fan favorite even after he left Cleveland to join the Philadelphia Phillies for more money.
There is no denying Jim Thome is an eventual hall of famer. Chances are high that he will be inducted as a Cleveland Indian. What would it be like if Thome were to hit his 600th career home run in Cleveland?
As a lifelong Tribe fan the thought of cheering for another team's player when they are playing the Indians is hard to swallow. This situation is different. Jim Thome was a childhood hero.
Like many other longtime Indians fans I can remember going to Cleveland Municipal Stadium with my father. Jim Thome played third base then and I loved how he had his pants pulled up to around his knees just like the old-timers used to wear them. In my young mind, Thome was the epitome of a baseball player. He looked the part and he hit a lot of home runs.
As I got older and the Indians became a much better team in the mid-1990s, Thome was one of the leaders on a team stacked with power. We had the speed of Kenny Lofton along with the bats of Albert Belle, Manny Rameriez, and of course, Jim Thome. I was an older teenager during that time, but watching those games made me feel like I was a kid with my dad again.
It was hard seeing Thome go in 2003, especially after he belted a career high of 52 home runs for the Tribe the year before. It signified the end of an era in Indians' history. A time the Indians and fans are so desperate to return to today.
To witness Thome's 600th home run in Cleveland would be a true gift to the city. It is a career milestone that he rightfully deserves in a city that it would mean more to than any of his former teams including his current Twins.
Not to discount the fans of his current team, but no one would be happier to witness the milestone than those of us here in Cleveland, even if he is currently a division rival.
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Paul Rados is a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados
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