Manuel praises Thome after 600th homer

Posted: August 17, 2011

CHARLIE MANUEL'S relationship with Jim Thome dates back to when the future Hall of Fame slugger was an anonymous 19-year-old minor leaguer who few thought had the tools to develop into an everyday big-leaguer.

In fact, Manuel, who was a coach in the Indians' minor league system, initially paid more attention to another first-base prospect named Mike Davis.

"I used to work with Mike Davis every day, and Jimmy would always hang out with him," Manuel said. "Really, I just kind of wondered, because I didn't think Jimmy was real good at that time. Then, all of a sudden, I was talking to Mike Davis, then there was Jimmy, he had paralleled up his stance and he was doing everything I was telling Davis to do.

"I thought, 'Hey, man, I've been working with the wrong guy.' That's a true story."

So the Phillies manager was as excited as anybody when Thome became the eighth player in major league history to hit 600 career home runs by slugging his 599th and 600th on Monday night, leading the Minnesota Twins over the Tigers in Detroit.

After the game, Thome credited Manuel, who went on to manage him with the Indians, with much of his development as a hitter.

"I think that he should get what's coming to him," Manuel said. "I think he's had the career, and I definitely think he deserves the Hall of Fame."

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