Touch 'Em All: Say it ain't so, Jim: Thome accepts trade to Cleveland

Posted: August 26, 2011

Looks as if Jim Thome will be retiring as an Indian rather than reuniting with Charlie Manuel as a Phillie.

The Twins slugger accepted a trade from Minnesota on Thursday night to return to Cleveland, the team he started with. Now his hopes of getting back to the World Series rest with the battered Tribe, a sub-.500 team hoping he can lift it past the first-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

That would be some fairy-tale ending, if he can do it. Somehow, we think that rejecting a release waiver, becoming a free agent, and signing with the club with the best record in baseball would have made a happy, title-winning ending more likely. (Though it may have been out of the former Phillie's hands: The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that Twins owner Jim Pohlad wasn't keen on signing off on the maneuver.)


Watch the skies

The Boston Red Sox have moved Sunday's series finale against the Oakland Athletics to Saturday night as part of a day-night doubleheader in anticipation of Hurricane Irene.

Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves were "closely monitoring" Irene and the effect it might have on this weekend's series in New York against the Mets.

More pain for Twins

Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer is one guy who won't be watching the skies. He took himself out of the lineup Thursday with a stiff neck. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire accepted the news, but said Mauer would have to play if something happened to backup Drew Butera.  Mauer said he would try. "He said he was going to have a hard time looking up for a pop fly." Gardenhire said. "I said, 'I'll tell somebody else to go catch it.' "  

Pops forever

Anybody else miss the Vet, and willing to admit it? We are. Sure, it was like watching baseball in a giant auto air filter that (as Casey Stengel noted of carbon-copy Busch Stadium in St. Louis) sure held the heat well, but it took a commitment to the game to show up back when the Phillies weren't, uh, good. (Shades of Danny Tartabull still haunt anyone who was there.)

But the place had its charms, chief among them that big yellow star on the seat in the second deck where Pittsburgh Pirates great Willie Stargell once bounced a home run. It's stayed in our memory because (A) the seat was usually empty, (B) it was a nice distraction from those 13-3 losses, and (C) it was absolutely astonishing that anyone could hit a ball that far. (Though at one point Pops held the record for hitting the longest homers in half the National League ballparks.)

The U.S. Postal Service shares the awe, announcing Thursday that Stargell would be the third face in its Major League Baseball All-Stars set of "forever" stamps, joining Joe DiMaggio and Larry Doby. (The fourth figure will be announced later.)

Contact staff writer Michael Harrington at

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.

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