Jim Thome is being inducted into the Philadelphia Phillies Wall of Fame this weekend. As I am turning 25 this weekend, Thome is the first, first baseman that I remember. I remember watching the chase to his 400th home run, Harry Kalas making the call, and his wife watching anxiously.
The Jim Thome I remember was not only a class act but became a leader. Jim Thome may only have been here four seasons, but he certainly deserves his induction this weekend.
Thome came to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003, and impressed not only the coaching staff but the fans right away. In his first season in a Phillies uniform, Thome hit a league leading 47 home runs and 131 RBIs with a .266 average and only improved from there. In 2004, his last full season with the team, Thome hit .274 with 42 home runs, 105 RBI.
Unfortunately, Thome wasn’t healthy the following season and only hit .207 due to a wrist injury.
He was subsequently traded to the Chicago White Sox during the offseason to make room for a budding Ryan Howard. In return, the Phillies received multiple players, including Aaron Rowand and Gio Gonzalez.
Thome came back to the Phillies in 2012 for a short period of time. Although Thome wasn’t at his best, he was still able to hit .242 and bring in 15 RBIs off the bench.
I believe that during Thome’s time in a Phillies uniform he was a role model to Ryan Howard. Sure Howard was only up in the big leagues 24 games while Thome was here, but 24 games is enough to make an impact on a young player.
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Howard had big shoes to fill and he certainly did and I don’t think he could have done it without a little Thome advice.
Jim Thome is not only a big part of Phillies history, but a big part of the “original” Phillies I grew up with. He paved the way for Howard, and now a young Tommy Joseph.
He showed the city of Philadelphia what it meant to not only be a team player, but that it was okay to strive for individual success.
Thome may have not have been in a Phillies uniform as long as we’d liked, but he’s earned his right to the Phillies Wall of Fame. He is and always will be the starting first baseman that I remember.