Phillies fans want answers as to why Jim Thome isn’t on severall HOF ballots
Nearly 40% of the Hall of Fame ballots have been made public, and former Phillies star Jim Thome continues to accrue votes towards his enshrinement in Cooperstown. With 94.4% of the public ballots, just five voters have left Thome off their list.
Who are these writers, and are they giving a reason why a man who sits 8th all-time in home runs is not on their ballot?
David Borges of the Connecticut Post gave his half-hearted explanation as to why he only voted for five players and left Thome off his ballot.
"Thome hit 612 career home runs, eighth all-time (right ahead of Sosa). An incredible accomplishment. And while there will always be suspicions about big power hitters from his era, there is zero evidence that Thome cheated.And, obviously, that doesn’t matter to me anyway. What matters to me is that Thome was never a truly transcendent player. I mean, was he ever even the best player on his own team? In 22 seasons, he was an All-Star exactly five times. He finished top-five in MVP voting once. Be honest: Did you ever stop what you were doing to watch Jim Thome bat?In 71 playoff games, he hit .211 and never really had a postseason moment."
Yes David, Thome was the best player on his own team several times, and if you didn’t stop to watch Thome hit you shouldn’t call yourself a baseball fan. And just because he wasn’t on fantastic teams that didn’t make playoff pushes or highlight him in a major market shouldn’t mean he isn’t bestowed the sports highest honor.
Allow me to name other high-profile teammates of Thome’s, and you be the judge. Players currently in the Hall of Fame are highlighted and those either on the ballot this year or next will be italicized.
Cleveland: Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Eddie Murray, David Justice, Jeff Kent, Richie Sexton, Dwight Gooden, CC Sabathia, Brandon Phillips, Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber
Philadelphia: Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Billy Wagner, Kenny Lofton, Bobby Abreu, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay
Chicago: Paul Konerko, AJ Pierzynski, Carlos Quinton, Nick Swisher, Ken Griffey Jr., Mark Buehrle
Los Angeles: Orlando Hudson, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier
Minnesota: Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer
Baltimore: Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jake Arrieta
Thome played with two Hall of Famers in his career, Griffey and Murray. The Kid appeared in 41 games after a trade from Cincinnati to Chicago to play with Thome for two players no longer in the league. Murray was at the tail end of his career in Cleveland and hit 38 home runs in 221 games from 1994-95.
Several of Thome’s former teammates will make Hall of Fame pushes, but how many are first-ballot Hall of Famers like Thome? I’d argue Halladay, Konerko, and MAYBE Kluber are the only ones on that list someday. Others such as Rollins, Utley, Howard, Mauer, Sabathia, and Lee will have their day in Hall of Fame arguments, but they’re no locks.
In reality, and all respect, Mr. Borges, Thome was the best player on any of his teams over a 22-year career.
A second Boston writer who passed on voting for Thome was Bill Ballou of The Telegram. He used just five votes and selected Ramirez, Jones, Guerrero, Clemons, and Bonds. Here’s his extremely brief and uneducating explanation for not voting for Thome
"Thome? Reminds me of Sammy Sosa or Rafael Palmeiro. He was always one of the best, never the very best."
Tony Massarotti of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston had a similar ballot: Bonds, Clemons, Jones, Edgar Martinez, and Ramirez.
I show little respect for those Boston writers’ unintelligent, ill-explained voting methods that picked players suspended for their drug use over a man with over 600 home runs.
The only Boston sports writer who didn’t vote for Thome that I will respect is Mike Silverman of the Boston Herald. Unlike his colleagues, Silverman used all 10 of his votes and offered a true explanation as to why Thome didn’t get his vote.
"Thome’s totals offer plenty of ammo for a Hall of Fame vote, and I would vote for him in a heartbeat if not for the Rule of 10…I won’t lose sleep over not voting for Thome, who will get in, as well he should."
Thome is a lock, and voters will pass on voting for locks in order to keep someone else on the ballot. Omar Vizquel and Scott Rolen are in danger of falling off the ballot, and Thome was the sacrifice.
Mike Shalin of the New Hampshire Union Leader also passed on voting for Thome, but instead voted for Ramirez.
Mike Imrem in Chicago didn’t vote for Thome, but he used the same “Rule of 10” ideology to give guys like Edgar Martinez or Mike Mussina a shot.
Here are his ballot and explanation: Bonds, Clemons, Guerrero, Hoffman, Jones, Martinez, Martinez, Mussina, Ramirez, Schilling, Sosa
"Many of you are thinking: Sammy, yes; Thome, no? Sosa gets one last nod because there’s a good chance he won’t receive enough votes to be back on the Hall of Fame ballot next year. Jim Thome will get in, either this year without my check mark or next year with it. Actually, the final decision on my ballot came down to Thome or Edgar Martinez. Time is running out on Martinez, too, so I went with him. Manny Ramirez was a tough one because he was caught using after testing was in place, but Manny being Manny was too dominant of a player to ignore."
Finally, to round out those who passed on Thome, we have three writers whose explanations were not found. One is a national baseball writer, one is of the New York Post, and the other in Los Angeles.
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Chuck Johnson – Sosa, Sheffield, McGriff, Martinez, Jones, Hoffman, Guerrero, Bonds, Clemons
Kevin Modesti – Omar Vizquel, Bonds, Clemons, Guerrero, Hoffman, Jones, Mussina, Ramirez, Schilling, Sheffield
George Willis – Sheffield, Mussina, McGriff, Martinez, Kent, Jones, Hoffman, Guerrero, Bonds, Clemons
Willis did mention if not for the Rule of 10 Thome would have gotten a vote from him. But those who vote for Sheffield, Bonds, Clemons, and Ramirez with little to no explanation are wronging Thome and his fans.
Clearly, pieces of the Hall of Fame voting are not where fans and voters want them to be between the PED issues, Rule of 10, falling off the ballot if receiving less than 5%, and 10 years of eligibility. One of the few players who should defy those issues is Thome, one of the greatest men and home run hitters of all-time.
No player will ever receive 100% of the vote, but why they don’t earn a man’s vote should be known and not hidden behind a screen.