Age 32: Jim Thome (2003)
Thome was a 12-year veteran with a tremendous resume when he hit free agency on October 28, 2002. The power-hitting lefty was coming off a 52-home run season and had seven-consecutive 30-plus home run seasons under his belt. The Phillies clearly got the prize of the free-agent pool when they inked Thome on December 6, 2012.
An instant fan favorite, Thome didn’t disappoint in his first season with the Phillies. He led the league in home runs for the first time in his career, blasting 47 with 131 RBI, 111 runs scored and 111 walks. Thome finished fourth in the MVP race, which was the closest he’d come to winning that honor.
Thome nearly duplicated the production the following season, hitting .274 with 42 home runs, 105 RBI, 104 walks, and 97 runs scored. He struggled the following season, mainly due to injury, which opened the door for Ryan Howard.
After moving on to the White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Indians, Thome was back in Philadelphia for part of the 2012 season, hitting .242 with five home runs in 62 at-bats. Now a member of the Hall of Fame, Thome retired with 612 home runs and 1699 RBI.
Age 33: Carlos Ruiz (2012)
Ruiz was a 27-year old rookie backup for the Phillies in 2006, batting .261 in 27 games. Seeing an expanded role in 2007, Ruiz hit .259 with 29 doubles and 54 RBI in 115 games. Although batting only .219 in 2008, Ruiz was excellent behind the plate and handled the pitching staff masterfully during the World Series run.
Becoming a more reliable offensive player in 2009, Ruiz hit .302 in 2010 and .283 in 2011, combining for 51 doubles and 14 home runs. Clearly his best season at the plate came in 2012 as a 33-year old. Ruiz made his first and only All-Star appearance, hitting .325 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, 68 RBI, and a .935 OPS.
Ruiz went on to play with the Phillies through much of the 2016 season before being traded to the Dodgers. After 14 games and a .278 average in Los Angeles, Ruiz headed to Seattle to finish his career with the Mariners in 2017, hitting .216 in 53 games. Upon returning to Philadelphia in a Seattle uniform, Ruiz received a standing ovation during his first at-bat.
Ruiz retired with 223 doubles, 71 home runs and 415 RBI in 1136 games.