I would like to welcome the newest, but not so new, been gone but now he's back, Philadelphia Phillie........JIM THOOOOME!! Let's show him some Brotherly Love!! 2012 is no doubt going to be an exciting time for the Philadelphia Phillies and the phans. After a gut wrenching, hard to watch end to the 2011 season it left many of us wondering, "Where do we go from here?" Do we implode or reload? Out the door went phan favorites like Rauuuuuul Ibanez and Ryan Madson, in came names like Jonathan Papelbon, Ty Wiggington, and Jim Thome.
South Philly is about as blue collar as Jim Thome. When Thome signed with the Phillies in 2002 he broke the mold for spending in a baseball town use to not spending. A whopping $85 million six-year deal showed the city and the phans that the Phillies weren't just building a new ballpark to sit there and look pretty, they wanted a team that could do it justice.
In 2003, his first season with the ball club Thome hit 47 home runs, only one behind the single-season team record held by Michael Jack Schmidt. The Phillies finished with 86 wins that season, just the 4th 80 plus wins in a season in the past 16 seasons. With a new ball park in 2004 it was no doubt the start of a new era for Phillies baseball.
On June 14th, 2004 Thome reached an incredible career milestone, hitting homerun #400 at Citizens Bank Park into the left center field seats.
"Could it be, could it be! IT IS, OUUTTAA HERRRE, #400 for Jim Thome!"
That infamous call by the late, great Harry Kalas is enough to give anyone goosebumps.
With the emergence of an up and coming first baseman named Ryan Howard in 2005, Thome was expendable and shipped off to teh Chicago White Sox.
On November 4th, 2011 Jim Thome signed a one-year $1.25 million deal to come back to the city where he hit #400, back to a city he loves.
"It feels great," Thome said about his return to Philly. "To get a chance to come back and see all the people that have worked here, it will be a nice reunion."
Thome's role in 2012 is no doubt going to be dependent on how quick Ryan Howard returns from his torn achillies. Despite not playing more than 3 games in the field since 2005 Thome will have to prove he can still play in the field until a healthy Howard is ready to go. The flexibility of John Mayberry Jr. will also provide some much needed help at 1st base. Thome also provides a left-handed power bat off the bench that is always important throughout the season and especially in the playoffs.
Besides a career 604 homeruns, Thome provides the Phillies with another character guy to add to the clubhouse. A player that you know will bring a positive attitude to the park every single day.
"The motivating factor is a legitimate chance to win. The Phillies called, it happend real quick and I was ecstatic."
We are ecstatic to have you back where you belong Thome!! Welcome back to Philly!!