Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 37, Jim Thome home runs
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins are just 37 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.
In 2010 the Twins were opening up a new, beautiful ballpark in Target Field. After a decade of regular contention and a collection of American League Central crowns the team would finally get to play in a stadium designed for baseball, not football. Part of that opening was a clear desire to give the team veterans to help them compete for another AL Central crown, one of those veterans was Jim Thome.
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Thome fit right in with the culture of Minnesota. It helped that his stature and the way he carried his bat made many think of Paul Bunyan swinging his axe. For someone who spent most of his career as a rival of the Twins it is amazing he was embraced so well looking back on the situation. Because Thome was so beloved by Twins fans we get to today celebrate the 37 home runs he hit wearing a Twins uniform.
In that first season with the Twins, Thome slashed .283/.412/.627 and a 1.039 OPS. Thome also hit 25 home runs, 16 doubles, and somehow was able to leg out 2 triples as well! There was magic in that inaugural season at Target Field as the Twins finished 94-68 and won another AL Central title. As had been the trend for many years the Twins would meet up with the New York Yankees and be swept out of the first round of the playoffs.
As magical as the 2010 season was for the Twins, 2011 was not. Twins fans did have a front seat to 12 more Thome home runs. Including the magical moment on August 15th when Thome hit home runs number 599 and 600 against the Detroit Tigers.
Shortly after that feat, Thome would end up going back to the Cleveland Indians to finish the 2011 season as the Twins gave him a chance to go back to where his baseball career began. Thome would play one more season in 2012 before retiring from baseball.
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Thome recently was honored for his career and elected to the Hall of Fame. Twins fans got just a small glimpse of that great career but got to see 37 great home runs of Thome’s career 612. In Twins Territory, the current number 8 player on the all-time home run list will still be fondly remembered with a “Thome is my Homie.” Thank you for the 37 majestic swings, Jim Thome!