Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports that the Indians will unveil a statue of Jim Thome on August 2. Thome, who still has not officially retired, has hit 612 home runs over a 22-year Major League career. 337 of them came in 13 seasons with the Indians between 1991-2002 and a second stint in 2011.
Hoynes describes the statue as featuring Thome doing his patented bat-point (seen in the image to the right), which Thome says he adopted upon a suggestion from Charlie Manuel, a hitting coach in the minors at the time. Manuel saw Robert Redford do it in “The Natural”.
Thome can be found in the top-ten on a multitude of Indians franchise leaderboards for offensive stats. Most noteworthy, he leads the franchise with 337 dingers, followed by Albert Belle with 242. He also has the third-highest OPS (.980) behind Manny Ramirez (.998) and Shoeless Joe Jackson (.983).
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.