After putting together a stellar 22-year career in Major League Baseball, Hall of Famer (and former Chicago White Sox DH) Jim Thome is ready to oversee efforts to positively promote the game with the help of retired players.
The former Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Chicago White Sox slugger has been named the new president of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
Thome, who was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2018, will take over as president from Brooks Robinson following his 33 years of service at the helm of the organization. Thome becomes the fourth man to oversee the non-profit organization following previous presidents Jim Hannan, Jim Kaat, and Brooks Robinson.
The MLBPAA is celebrating its 40th year of operation this season as it continues to work on growing and promoting the game, raising money for charity, inspiring and educating youths, and helping retired players through its Major League Alumni Marketing program.
The MLBPAA has over 8,600 members which encompass former and current players, umpires, managers, front office employees, and fans.
Fundraising efforts include the Swing with the Legends Golf Series which has raised over $75 million for organizations such as Little League Baseball, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cystic Fibrosis, Childrens’ Hospital, and Special Olympics.
Vice Presidents of the MLBPAA include former players Bob Boone, George Brett, Robin Yount, Carl Erskine, Chipper Jones, Barry Larkin, and Edgar Martinez.
In addition to being in the HOF, Thome was a five-time All-Star, Silver Slugger Award winner, and currently ranks eighth all-time in home runs with 612. He also was awarded the first-ever Brooks Robinson Community Service Award from the MLBPAA.
Thome has always been a very active person in the community, including during his time as a player, and was twice awarded the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and a Lou Gehrig Memorial Award for his efforts.
In 2002, he was named a recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award which is given to the player who best represents the game of baseball both on and off the field through charitable works and community involvement.
One of the areas Thome is excited about is the MLBPAA’s Legends for Youth Clinic Series where kids can learn fundamentals of the game from past players at no cost. Exposing young people to the great things that the game of baseball has to offer can only help grow the game for years to come.
"“I love the youth clinic part because, at the end of the day, it is about our young kids and educating them with great information to be able to grow. Anytime you can pass on information to our youth and talk about the game’s integrity and how to play, it’s a good thing.”"
During his four years with the White Sox, Thome hit .265 with 134 home runs and 369 RBIs. He belted his 500th career home run in a game against the Dodgers in 2007. In 2008, hit the game-winning homer in a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins to take the AL Central crown in the famous “Blackout Game”. This is a well-deserved honor.