What Jim Thome can teach us about strengths and weaknesses

Jim Thome. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons @Erik Drost

Like any Cleveland Indians fan growing up in the 90s, Jim Thome is one of my all time favorite baseball players.

Always had a good reputation as being friendly, a slugger, wore high socks like he was playing in the 30s. What wasn’t there to love?

This past weekend, Thome was enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It’s well deserved. Thome’s 612 career home runs ranks him eighth all time.

Baseball fans talk about guys who are five tool players, which refers to someone who can hit for power, hit for average, run well, throw well, and who has a good glove.

Obviously Thome excelled at hitting for power. And while his career batting average was a respectable (though not exactly phenomenal .276), he actually is 51st all time in on base percentage because Thome also walked a lot.

But he wasn’t known for being a great fielder or runner (19 career stolen bases, compared to being caught stealing 20 times).

Simply put, Jim Thome was not a five tool player. And yet he’s in the Hall of Fame, because parts of his game were great.

We all have room to grow, areas where we can improve. And we should always strive to get better in those areas. But there are also some skills where we’ll probably never excel, and that’s ok, because we can still do a lot with the talent and ability we have.

Sometimes we can get bogged down for modest improvements in areas that aren’t our strengths when we could be working to cultivate our strengths to become even better. Let us never be so good at something that we think we can’t still do it better.

What’s something you’re good at where you could get even better?

Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.

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