SportsNation Blog ArchivesSN Blog Archives Jim Thome

Forty years ago the game of baseball changed forever when Ron Blomberg stepped to the plate for the Yankees as the first designated hitter in MLB history. Since then the position has evolved, with many players making a career of being a DH. But who've been the best over the past four decades? We're giving you a chance to rank the greatest DHs in MLB history. Scroll over the images to get more information and click to set your rankings.

All stats are only when playing as a designated hitter and are through games of April 2, 2013 for active players.

Greatest designated hitters

Harold Baines

Harold Baines

1,652 games
.837 OPS
236 HR

Don Baylor

Don Baylor

1,284 games
.792 OPS
219 HR

Jose Canseco

Jose Canseco

846 games
.866 OPS
208 HR

Chili Davis

Chili Davis

1,160 games
.864 OPS
200 HR

Brian Downing

Brian Downing

823 games
.828 OPS
125 HR

Jason Giambi

Jason Giambi

517 games
.853 OPS
105 HR

Travis Hafner

Travis Hafner

972 games
.869 OPS
188 HR

Edgar Martinez

Edgar Martinez

1,403 games
.959 OPS
243 HR

Hal McRae

Hal McRae

1,426 games
.820 OPS
145 HR

Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor

1,171 games
.828 OPS
102 HR

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

1,493 games
.941 OPS
353 HR

Mike Sweeney

Mike Sweeney

607 games
.805 OPS
132 HR

Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas

1,310 games
.899 OPS
269 HR

Jim Thome

Jim Thome

817 games
.922 OPS
205 HR

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For a guy who will go down in history as one of the most patient hitters ever to pick up a bat, currently ranking eighth in career walks, Jim Thome seemed to be in a hurry to get to a milestone. Blasts in back-to-back plate appearances against the Tigers made Thome the eighth player to reach 600 career home runs. But does that make him one of the greatest sluggers of all time? Rank 'Em: Who rules the 600-HR club?


Will Cooperstown call quickly?

Every player with 600 home runs who appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot reached Cooperstown on the first try. Then again, that list currently consists of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth.

SportsNation

What's in a label?

What do you think of when you think of Jim Thome? It probably isn't that he's eighth in career walks or second in strikeouts, but is it his slugging?

SportsNation

Is 600 bigger than 3,000?

If you go by scarcity, eight members of the 600-HR club trumps 28 members of the 3,000-hit club. But has the homer's stature taken a big enough hit to overcome that math?

SportsNation

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Jim Thome has 17 home runs, 44 RBIs and a robust .984 OPS for a team that leads the AL Central by four games in the middle of August. He checks in with 581 career home runs, ranking him behind just nine players in baseball history and ahead of names like Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle. But until Thome provided the walk-off heroics in his team's 7-6 win in 10 innings against the White Sox on Tuesday night, how many people were even aware he was with the Twins?

As it turns out, only about half of SportsNation.

Thome's zeitgeist fate seems to sum up the Twins. Fantastic new stadium, more wins at the moment than all but four teams in the majors and about as much attention as hits allowed by Kevin Slowey. But is this a team that could actually win the World Series? And can we get some stock tips from ESPN Chicago's Nostradamus-like Bruce Levine?

Peter (Twin Cities)

Have you heard anything on a timeline for Justin M. coming back, Sox get pretty lucky to avoid him twice and even though it has worked out so far he is missed.

ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine (before Tuesday's game)
Matt Williamson

Right now the Twins seem to be the hottest team in baseball. Ironically, Jim Thome has had some of the biggest hits for them over the past two weeks. I think they can live without Morneau for a short time. Full transcript

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Not since fantasy baseball owners haggled through the summer of 2003 have Jim Thome, Jose Contreras and Billy Wagner mattered this much in a trade market.

Of course, even as Thome and Jon Garland headed to the Dodgers and Contreras made his way to the Rockies, their old employer was left with a smoldering reminder of the perils of trading. Alex Rios? Hitting worse than .200 with the team. Jake Peavy? Might not pitch until 2010.

A month ago, voters picked the White Sox to win the AL Central. As recently as three weeks ago, SportsNation still had them neck and neck with the Tigers. Now? Well, at least 58 percent of voters think Ozzie Guillen should keep his job in the Windy City.

gsaggese

I think Williams intended to go for the win, but Guillen's mouth and attitude killed this team. In the end, Williams decided to get something for two players that would not have returned next season. Let's hope Guillen goes too.

-- GSaggese
ajp_

I really believe John Kruk when he says the Dodgers signed Thome so the Giants wouldn't get him. It makes absolutely no sense for Thome to go to the National League on a team that has a solid firstbasement who should be an everyday player. So my thinking is there going to have Thome play every here and there to give Loney a rest and be available in the 8th or 9th inning off the bench when there down by one and need a homerun.

-- AjP_

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