Jim Thome signed a one-day contract with the Cleveland Indians on Saturday to officially retire in the team uniform. The 43-year-old slugger was one of the most prolific home run hitters of all time, terrorizing pitchers and ruining baseballs over an illustrious 22-year career.
Thome's peers vaunted him as an exemplar of affable humility, a genuinely gregarious guy who did things The Right Way. In an era when players puffed up to jumbo size, Thome looked like an old-school swatter, a humungous pile of a human whose thick arms seemed tailor-made for either baseball or the competitive arm wrestling circuit. Though he never won an MVP Award and played in only a handful of All-Star Games, Thome ranks 18th all-time in on-base plus slugging percentage thanks to his patience and power. His 612 career home runs rank seventh.
But enough about how great Thome was. Now watch him hit this dinger:
That 511-foot blast, from a 1999 game against the Royals, remains the longest home run ever hit at Progressive Field. No surprise, then, that the Indians immortalized it and Thome with a statue outside the park.