MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins honored newly inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome with a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday's game against the A's at Target Field, celebrating Thome's time in Minnesota from 2010-11. The Twins lost to the A's, 6-2.Thome, who hit career homer No. 600 with the Twins on
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins honored newly inducted Hall of Famer Jim Thome with a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday's game against the A's at Target Field, celebrating Thome's time in Minnesota from 2010-11. The Twins lost to the A's, 6-2.
Thome, who hit career homer No. 600 with the Twins on Aug. 15, 2011, was joined by his family and former teammates Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, while others such as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Ron Gardenhire paid tribute on the videoboard. Thome has already been honored by the Phillies, White Sox and Indians this season, and said he looks fondly upon his time with the Twins, especially in 2010, when they won the American League Central.
"For me, my memories here were the chemistry," Thome said. "Chemistry like no other. Spring Training, to the way people here genuinely treat you, from teammates to the front office, to when Gardy was here, to the coaches, to the fans. It's got that special feel. As an opponent for years, coming here, we've seen it, we felt it as an opponent. 'Wow, the Twins fans really treat their players very, very unique and special.' When you become that, then you get a feel for what it truly is."
Thome batted .266/.387/.562 with 37 homers and 99 RBIs in 179 games with Minnesota. He hit 612 homers during a 22-year career with the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles. He signed a one-year deal with the Twins prior to the 2010 season and hit .283/.412/.627 with 25 homers and 59 RBIs in 108 games. He signed another one-year deal in 2011, but the Twins had a rough year and he was traded to the Indians late that season.
"I think it's to his credit that although the time wasn't very long, there was a bigger impact that maybe didn't match up with time," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think he was a greater influence than that. What he did on the field was obviously impressive, and certainly added to his Hall of Fame credentials, but the influence he had on a lot of our people here, young players [was big]."
Molitor, a Hall of Famer like Thome, said he remembers when Thome was first coming up with the Indians in the early 90s and enjoyed competing against him, especially when they were both in the AL Central from 1996-98 with Thome on the Indians and Molitor with the Twins.
"I remember him coming up as a third baseman," Molitor said. "He turned into one of the better power hitters of his generation. We had a chance to see the 600th home run in a Twins uniform, which was special. And the way he spoke in Cooperstown, and to be able to honor all the teams he played for and got to know a little about the communities, as far as the fan base, shows what kind of person he is."
Thome, who is now a special assistant to the general manager with the White Sox and a contributor on MLB Network, said he's not sure what's next, but wouldn't rule out anything, including managing in the future.
"Baseball can take you many ways," Thome said. "And when that time comes, if it ever came, you'd have to listen. But I so enjoy my life. I enjoy being able to coach my son at 10 years old, being at home so when the boys start knocking at the door, my presence at the front door for my daughter is around. And then being able to take my wife to dinner on the weekends is something I enjoy. But, I love the game so much, and maybe one day, I would love to get back in it."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.