Thome should join Jones as a first-ballot Hall of Famer

Thome running out the bomb he hit in Game Three, 1997 World Series . . .

Thome running out the bomb he hit in Game Three, 1997 World Series . . .

Among the Hall of Fame ballot rookies not named Chipper Jones, there’s another man who shakes out as belonging on next July’s podium with Jones as a first ballot Hall of Famer.

And one thing you notice about Jim Thome’s statistics is that, sure, he struck out a lot, averaging 162 strikeouts per 162 games lifetime. That’s a punchout per game, ladies and gentlemen. But he also a) walked a bunch (he led his league three times) and b) he only averaged hitting into eleven double plays per 162 games lifetime. He also averaged 111 walks per 162, eleven of which were intentional.