The Phillies were twisting in the wind after the 2002 season, one that saw them trade franchise cornerstone Scott Rolen and left everyone wondering about their future. They had one more season to play at Veterans Stadium before finally moving into a new ballpark, and the time was right to make a splash in free agency. That's when the Phillies dug deep and persuaded Jim Thome to come to down. What a move.
Everything around the club seemed rejuvenated for 2003, and Thome delivered on expectations, launching 47 home runs to fall just one shy of the club record at the time. The following year, Thome christened brand new Citizens Bank Park with a 42-homer season, one that included his milestone 400th big league home run. Thome and the Phillies seemed like a great match, and it felt like the good times would never end. Unfortunately, that's when injuries got in the way, severely shortening his 2005 campaign and paving the way for the Ryan Howard era at first base. With nowhere to put him and an eye toward the future, the Phillies moved Thome to the White Sox after that season, bringing him back for a brief reunion in 2012. All told, Thome only hit 101 home runs with the Phillies, but the 2003-04 version of the Hall of Famer will be fondly remembered by a generation of Phils fans.
Jim Thome went on to mash 612 MLB home runs, putting him currently in 8th place on the career list. He got his deserved call to Cooperstown in 2018, capping a brilliant career in all facets. It is truly a shame that his time in Philadelphia couldn't have lasted longer, although it was the right move for the team at the time.