Chuck Thome Presents Signed Banner from National Baseball HoF Ceremony

Past, present, and future Illinois Central College baseball players will now be able to say they have shared the same fields as one of the greatest to play the game.

Once the Jim Thome-signed banner is raised, that attachment and feeling of pride will now be shared by all who step through the doors of the CougarPlex. Jim’s father, Chuck Thome, acted as an emissary Wednesday afternoon as he presented the banner to the 2018-19 baseball team and others in attendance.

Jim Thome, one of the greatest sluggers in the MLB with 612 home runs in his 22 seasons, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame July 29.

Chuck spoke to the ICC players and coaches of Jim’s past with words of wisdom and encouragement about the challenges he faced before making it to the majors, and ultimately becoming a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“If you have a dream to play in the big leagues… don’t let anything deter you from that. You’ve got to believe you can do it. If you think you can do it, do it.”

Jim played ball at ICC in the 1988-89 season before being scouted and then signed to the majors, making his MLB debut for the Cleveland Indians in 1991. He would close out his career as one of the greatest to stand at the plate with 612 home runs, 1,699 RBIs, and 4,667 hits out of his 8,422 at-bats.

Gifts were given on both sides, though. As thanks for bringing the banner all the way from New York, the baseball team gifted an ICC dad’s coffee mug and a signed poster of their own to commemorate the day.

The banner will be on display in the CougarPlex for Jim’s legacy to be viewed and cherished by all.