Archive for August 16th, 2011

Twenty years ago, the Yankees and Indians endured miserable seasons that ranked among the worst in each franchise’s respective history (sixth lowest winning percentage for New York and second lowest for Cleveland). However, on October 4, three games before the merciful end of a forgettable season, the two teams participated in a memorable moment that launched a Hall of Fame career.

Jim Thome celebrates his first major league home run, a game winner versus the Yankees on October 4, 1991 (Photo: Cleveland Plain Dealer).

Jim Thome broke into the majors as a skinny, 20-year old, third baseman. Despite being selected in the 13th round of the 1989 draft, he quickly emerged as a top prospect by posting prolific numbers in ever level of the minors. Finally, in 1991, Thome was rewarded with a September call up, but in his first 20 games, the lefty showed few signs of his reported potential. In the final week of the season, however, the Indians’ heralded rookie finally began to give a glimpse of what the future had in store. Over those final seven games, Thome posted a line of .481/.500/.741.

Included among Thome’s last season surge was his first major league home run, a two run blast hit against Yankees’ closer Steve Farr in the top of the ninth. The homer, which gave the Indians a 3-2 victory, sailed into the empty wings of the right field upper deck. Although a sparse crowd witnessed James (as the New York Times called him the next day) Thome’s first blast, the lefty slugger would provide plenty of encores over the next 20 seasons.

The Road to 600

HR # Date Tm Opp Pitcher
1 10/4/1991 CLE @NYY Steve Farr
100 5/14/1997 CLE @TEX Bobby Witt
200 4/15/2000 CLE TEX Mark Clark
300 6/5/2002 CLE @MIN Eric Milton
400 6/14/2004 PHI CIN Jose Acevedo
500 9/16/2007 CHW LAA Dustin Moseley
600 8/15/2011 MIN @DET Daniel Schlereth

Source: baseball-reference.com


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