Thome signs one-day deal to retire an Indian

Thome signs one-day deal to retire an Indian

Cleveland, OH—The Cleveland Indians announced on Saturday evening that Jim Thome, the club's all-time home run leader, will sign an honorary contract with the team to retire as a player for the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians unveiled Thome's statue earlier Saturday in Heritage Park, in center field at Progressive Field; the statue features Thome in his signature pose, with him pointing to center field with his bat. The Indians also placed a marker in center field, at the spot where his 511-foot homer – the longest in ballpark history – landed on July 3, 1999.

Thome spent the most productive 12 years of his 22-year career with the Indians, and his 337 homers are by far the most in franchise history. He hit 30 or more homers seven times in that span – including 40 or more three times – and drove in 100 or more runs six times. Thome also is the club's all-time walk leader, with 1,008.

He also ranks in the franchise's top 10 in:

  • RBI: 2nd, 937
  • On-base percentage: 3rd, .414
  • Slugging percentage: 3rd, .566
  • OPS: 3rd, .980
  • Runs: 5th, 928
  • Doubles: 10th, 263

He made three AL All-Star teams and finished in the top 10 of MVP balloting three times in an Indians uniform. He returned to the club in 2011 at the age of 40, and memorably hit a three-run homer on Jim Thome Appreciation Night (9/23/11).

In all, Thome hit 612 homers in his 22-year career, good for seventh on the all-time list. He also ranks seventh on the all-time walk list, with 1,747.