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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jim Thome: On being a professional

We all have heard the expression “he (or she) is an even better person than they are an athlete....”.

Sometimes, it’s an exaggeration.  But in the case of Jim Thome, the long-time major-league baseball player, it may just be accurate.

Thome has been in the game at the major-league level since the early 1990s.  He has played through the infamous steroid era, though he has never been one of those players associated with performance enhancing drugs.  He is a power hitter, but his power by all accounts is "natural".  He was raised, if I’m not mistaken, in a small farming community, and built his strength working at home.

I’ve always heard that Thome is a genuine person.  But an article this week at ESPN.com verified that, beyond his rather significant exploits on the field (he has hit almost 600 home runs, a staggering total) he sets a tremendous example for all of us, including young athletes, because of the way be behaves off the field.

If you have a moment, read the following piece from Buster Olney at http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog?name=olney_buster&id=6846332

It sheds some light on an interesting professional athlete who may be one of the relatively few who truly puts himself in the shoes of others.

Young athletes who aspire to be "pros" but don't really know it it means would do well to emulate Thome.