April 5, 2012
HE STOOD on the painted baseball that marked his 400th home run the other day, chatting up fans as part of the Phillies' On-Deck Series of games designed to add a little revenue for a payroll that is now beyond anyone's imagination, a payroll absorbing another $1.25 million so that the man who started it all could have one last stab at the ultimate prize. Jim Thome smiled and shook a hundred or so hands and told and listened to stories as more of the early crowd wandering around Citizens Bank Park found him and flocked toward him. I told him later it was like watching a family greet a beloved relative they rarely see, which is kind of what Thome has been since leaving Philadelphia after the 2005 season.
September 2, 2014 |
Baseball is a game of timeless, repeating patterns, which is part of its charm. A fan from 100 years ago would still recognize the choreography of a double play and still know how well a ball has been hit by listening to the sound of the bat. He would wonder why the game takes so long, but otherwise, baseball is baseball. Ryan Howard, as he endures the downside of a great career, is repeating another pattern that he went through a decade ago from the other side of the looking glass.
November 7, 2011
JIM THOME is not the first Hall of Fame-level first baseman to return to Philly for an end-of-career cameo. Jimmie Foxx, the greatest hitter in Athletics history, finished his career with the lowly Phillies in 1945. He was just 37. Maybe young owner Bob Carpenter thought the righthanded slugger who rivaled Babe Ruth's numbers during the great middle years of his career could put a few extra fannies in Connie Mack Stadium's empty seats. He didn't. The Phils drew just over 285,000.
June 24, 2012 |
Jim Thome and Charlie Manuel have always enjoyed a special relationship, and the slugger felt it was fitting that he and the manager shared more milestones together in an eventful afternoon in South Philadelphia. Thome's solo, pinch-hit home run to lead off the ninth inning off hard-throwing lefthander Jake McGee provided the Phillies with Saturday's 7-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Citizens Bank Park It was Thome's 609th career home run, tying him with Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list.
November 20, 2005 |
Jim Thome wasn't even halfway through a three-hour workout, and already his gray T-shirt was soaked in sweat. It was a little after 10 one recent morning, and the temperature was in the 80s on Florida's Gulf Coast. A lone groundskeeper was busy aerating the outfield grass at Bright House Networks Field, while Thome did conditioning exercises under the supervision of a trainer. Lifting and bending, reaching and running, grunting and groaning. This was the easy part of Thome's day. In a couple of hours, he would shower, grab some lunch and once again begin to wonder anxiously about the future, where he'd play his next baseball game, and who he'd play it for. The Phillies?
May 27, 2009 |
Thome climbs the home-run ladder When Ryan Howard broke Mike Schmidt's record of 48 homers in a season by a Phillie, Schmidt said he had always thought Jim Thome would be the one to do it. On Monday night, Thome passed the Hall of Fame third baseman on the all-time list when he clubbed his 549th homer in the Chicago White Sox' 17-3 rout of the Los Angeles Angels. Thome is 13th in career homers and third among active players, behind Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. The big lefthanded slugger still has the photograph of Schmidt raising his hand aloft as the two of them stood at home plate at Veterans Stadium when the Phillies played their final game there in 2003.
November 23, 2002 |
Jim Thome's agent wants the Cleveland Indians to make their final offer by Monday. "His wife is due with the baby," Pat Rooney said yesterday. "They would like to get moving on this and get the process going. " Thome's wife, Andrea, is expecting the couple's first child around Christmas. Cleveland already has made an offer thought to be worth $40 million to $48 million over four years. Indians general manager Mark Shapiro has spent part of the last week talking with owner Larry Dolan about ways that the club can increase its proposal to Thome.
December 2, 2002 |
The anxiety should end today for the Phillies and the Cleveland Indians. After a long Thanksgiving weekend with Final Jeopardy! music ringing in their ears, an answer should be forthcoming from the biggest free-agent prize on this year's market. Everybody knows the question by now: Will slugging first baseman Jim Thome stay in Cleveland or come to Philadelphia? Phillies general manager Ed Wade had hoped to have that answer last night, but as he headed home from Annapolis, Md., after dropping off his son, Ryan, at the Naval Academy, he still had not heard from Thome's agent, Pat Rooney.
February 21, 2004 |
The perception going into last season was that Jim Thome needed time to adjust. To his new team. To National League pitching. Then Thome tied for the major-league lead with 47 home runs and drove in a career-high 131 runs. If that's what he could do without any familiarity with NL pitching, imagine what he could do with a little knowledge of it. Phillies manager Larry Bowa thinks that another year in the NL will help Thome. He said that it could help him cut down on his strikeouts - he led the league with 182 last season - and hit for a higher average.
June 3, 2005 |
Jim Thome is looking to forget about the immediate past. In fact, Thome would rather not look at much of this season, but he does see light at the end of the proverbial batting tunnel. Even after earning three walks in last night's 6-5 win over the visiting San Francisco Giants, Thome, who is now batting .207 with two home runs, and manager Charlie Manuel saw positives. "I like it when he is patient," Manuel said. "It shows he is on the ball and following the ball, and that's a good sign.