MLB slugger and former Colorado Springs Sky Sox third baseman, Jim Thome, has been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Pro Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Wednesday, marking the first ever Sky Sox player to be inducted. The induction comes in his first year of eligibility alongside other inductees Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman.
Thome played in parts of two seasons with the Sky Sox in 1991 and 1992, compiling a .291 batting average in 53 regular season games. He played in all eight postseason games during the 1992 Pacific Coast League playoffs where the Sky Sox would overcome a 2-1 series deficit to Las Vegas in a best-of-five set before sweeping Vancouver 3-0 in the Championship series for their first PCL title.
Thome developed his hitting prowess while Charlie Manuel was at the helm of Colorado Springs. Manuel managed the Sky Sox during the 1992 PCL Championship Series, and continued the next season in 1993 when the Indians’ Triple-A affiliation shifted from Colorado Springs to Charlotte. Thome would be the 1993 International League MVP with the Charlotte Knights, batting .332 with 25 homers and 102 RBI, as Charlotte beat Rochester in the International League Governor’s Cup, three games to two.
Thome only hit 4 regular season homers in a Sky Sox uniform – August 8th, 1991(Home vs. Phoenix Firebirds), August 16th, 1991(Road at Nat Bailey Stadium vs. Vancouver Canadians), August 26th, 1992 (Home vs. Calgary Cannons), and September 2nd, 1992 (Home vs. Tucson Toros). The would-be five-time All Star’s lone multi-HR game in a Sky Sox uniform came on September 13th, 1992 in Game 5 of PCL Division Series against the Las Vegas Stars (2-for-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI) at Cashman Field in the deciding matchup. His only other home run came in the final Game 3 of the PCL Championship series on September 16th, 1992 against the Vancouver Canadians (at Nat Bailey Stadium).
The Illinois native slugged 612 home runs and drove in 1699 RBI in his 22 year big-league career.