Well respected among his peers and baseball fans, Jim Thome is one of modern sports' good guys. He's also one of the game's all-time great power hitters. Despite this, Thome has also avoided much of the baseball spotlight, smashing long balls under the radar for nearly two decades. Thome joined the 500 Home Run Club in 2007. Despite this fact, Jim Thome cards and collectibles have remained relatively affordable.
Drafted in the 13th round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Thome made his Major League debut two years later at the end of 1991. He emerged as a star in 1994, breaking the 20-home run plateau for the first time. From there Thome's numbers continued to rise, going up to 25 homers in 1995 and 38 in 1996. For his career, the slugger has hit 30 or more long balls in a season 12 times including a career high of 52 in 2002, his last year with the Indians.
Thome has just two rookie cards, both of which hail from the peak period of over production. As a result, they won't send your kids to college. However, they are a bargain when you consider just how good Thome has been over his career. Although not a rookie, many collectors also like the draw of his 1992 Bowman Baseball card, largely due to the popularity of the set.
Having become a member of the 500 Home Run Club, while never being linked to, or even whispered about during the steroid era, still means something to collectors. This has been evidenced by the increase in value of Thome's autograph, as collectors add his name to their multi-signed pieces or look to acquire his single signed items to add to a themed collection.
Jim Thome Rookie Cards
It's too bad that every baseball card set from 1991 was so grossly overproduced because 1991 Bowman has a tremendous rookie crop. Among them is Thome, standing somewhat awkwardly, smirking at the photographer. The posed portrait has a bat on the budding star's shoulder and some heavily outdated red Franklin batting gloves on. Not only printed by the cubic ton, 1991 Bowman Baseball has one of the most boring designs committed to cardboard. This is Thome's only pack-inserted rookie card.
Thome's other rookie card, from 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition, features a strikingly similar photo to its Bowman counterpart. The biggest difference is the fact that Thome's in a full batting stance and his still slightly awkward smile shows some teeth. Judging from the building in the background, the photo looks like it was taken at the same shoot. Upper Deck's design, although similar to 1989 and 1990, was still very strong. 1991 Upper Deck Final Edition was sold only as a set. Today they can be found for just a few dollars, a bargain considering it includes both Thome and the only rookie card of Pedro Martinez.
Jim Thome Autographed Memorabilia Buying Guide
Below you will find an example of what an authentic Jim Thome signature looks like. This can be used as a first point of reference for determining the legitimacy of autograph memorabilia, but is not a substitute for having your items authenticated by a well-respected professional autograph authentication company. Some of the trusted sources within the sports memorabilia market include the following companies: PSA, JSA, Steiner, Tristar and Mounted Memories. Click on any of the images below to view full size photos.
Jim Thome Cut Signature Exemplar
Jim Thome Key Signature Attributes: An authentic Jim Thome signature autograph will exhibit several distinguishing characteristics. Regardless of the type of item or when it was signed, look for, at least some, of the following signature features:
- Entire signature is written on an even horizontal plane, particularly when signing on flat objects.
- The "J" is defined by the elongated loop to the left.
- The pen lifts for the characters implied to be the letters "i-m."
- The letter "T" is crossed with an extra long line.
- The letter "h" is dramatically written with a fluid curve.
- The remaining letters are indistinguishable, for the most part, but present.
- Overall the signature is fluid, smooth and quick.