I was born on October 3, 1997. This was right in the middle of an Indians’ World Series run, their second in three years. Unfortunately for me, I never got the chance to comprehend any of this. I never got the chance to see the Indians in the World Series again until 2016. In 2011 though, I got the closest I could to the 1997 postseason.
Growing up, I learned all about the Indians teams that went to the 1995 and 1997 World Series. The players I continuously connected with were Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome. They were both loved by my family and I loved watching their highlights. Vizquel had the defensive highlights and Thome the offensive ones.
I was always too young to really enjoy their time with the Indians, but that changed for me in 2011. That year, Thome was traded to the Indians and I got the chance to see him with Cleveland across his chest.
During the 2011 season, Thome only played 22 games as an Indian and it was believed by many that he would be retiring after that season. He already reached the 600-home run milestone making him only the eighth player ever to do so at the time. He was a Cleveland legend and was given a ceremony to honor him on September 23, 2011.
That game in September, I was lucky enough to get tickets with my friends and family to watch the Tribe. Man, I was prepared for that game. I had a throwback Thome jersey that I put on for it and I made sure to wear red high socks all the way up to my knees. None of my friends understood why I did that, but I did, along with the majority of the fans in attendance at the game. The Indians had a pregame ceremony where they announced that they would be building a statue in his honor. Now we have all seen this statue and grown to love it. To top it all off, he showed his appreciation by hitting his 604th home run that game.
This game will always be one that I will never forget and will continue to be one of the best games I have ever attended. All of this was thanks to Thome coming back to Cleveland. Thank you, Jim Thome, for giving me the chance to get a glimpse of the 1997 World Series, no matter how small it was. Thank you for all you have done for this organization and the MLB.