Here are five reasons why he is loved across the baseball world:
Reason #5: Honesty
Players in today's modern sports world make incredible sums of money and also have every perk imaginable available to them as part of their 'extended benefits' package. When some people become comfortable, they also become arrogant. Not Thome.
The manner in which he has always handled himself on the field, through the media and during his interactions with all fans has remained first rate.
Reason #4: Consistency
Anyone can have a great year, or even a few dominant seasons. Thome has been a consistent offensive force for what seems like forever.
An onslaught of home runs and RBI's, along with a heavy OPS (on base plus slugging percentage), are the trademarks of his career. You name it and he has created it in every stadium, against countless pitchers, for over two decades.
Reason #3: Non-enhanced numbers
There has never been any hard evidence that Thome has used performance enhancing drugs. Many people have been accused in that regard and some who haven't surely seem to be guilty of having done so.
Skeptics may disagree, but Thome fully appears to have always been the real deal.
Reason #2: Teamwork
There's a reason why we have never heard about Thome being a trouble-maker. He's not one.
Playing for the Cleveland Indians, Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins since his career began in 1991 meant that he's worked in a variety of environments. No different than any employee who has had a diverse work experience, Thome had to blend into starkly different situations.
Someone who demonstrates that he is respectful of management, cares about his teammates and appreciates his clients (the fans) easily became part of every team.
Reason #1: Everyone loves the long ball
People worship home run hitters for a reason.
Repeatedly hitting a baseball out of a major league stadium makes someone a star. Doing so over 600 times in his career will also earn Thome access to the Hall of Fame.
This great native of Peoria, Illinois has averaged one home run per every 13.66 at bats. Only four men: Mark McGwire (10.61), Babe Ruth (11.76), Barry Bonds (12.92) and Ryan Howard (13.27) have ever done better. Of them, some would argue that only 'The Bambino' truly has the better ratio.
All hail to the one and only James Howard Thome. He will always be one of the best men and one of greatest power hitters to have ever played the game of baseball.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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