100 Greatest Phillies

100 Greatest Phillies: 79 – Jim Thome

Jim Thome
First Baseman
2003-2005

Career w/Phillies: .260 AVG / 96 HR / 266 RBI / 0 SB

When the Phillies signed Jim Thome over Thanksgiving 2002, the statement was clear: The Phillies were big-time players, and wanted to open their new ballpark with a herculean star. Turned out, however, there was another in line for that job.

Thome, of course, entered with the weight of the city on his Bunyonesque shoulders, and he delivered, bashing 47 home runs for an 86-win team that finished five out of the Wild Card. Sure the Phils were a good team, but just not good enough, and so the focus switched from closing out Veterans Stadium with a title to opening Citizens Bank Park with one. A repeat performance came from Thome in 2004, and despite having one of the best offenses in baseball, the Phils again won 86. With Charlie Manuel at the helm and newcomers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard set to electrify the offense, 2005 could’ve been the year. But it wasn’t. And for Thome, it was the end – a season-ending surgery sat him for Howard, who exploded to a Rookie of the Year win. Thome was shipped out to Chicago after 2005, but his time in Philly will be remembered.

Comment: A huge favorite upon arrival, Thome is one of the nicest men to ever have played baseball. He also knocked his 400th home run at Citizens Bank Park. For a few years, he was the man in Philly, and was supposed to lead the Phils to the promised land. Although he didn’t, in a way, he helped. And heck, you’ll still see Thome jerseys scattered at the Vault today. Three cheers for Bunyon himself.

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Brett

    January 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Thome made me start watching the Phils again, when he came. I’d been out of it for a few years, and he made things exciting again. Mad props.

  2. Don M

    January 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Is this list the GREATEST players, who happened to play for the Phillies at some point… or is it ranking their greatness while they’ve been in Phillies uniforms..

    Im just confused how Thome would be ahead of Myers… and where Jamie Moyer might fall in… and what not.. I love the thought of this countdown list, I just wish we knew what the criteria was, etc..

  3. Geoff

    January 7, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Same with me..I was living in Pittsburgh during the college years, jaded to baseball because the pirates were the local team. The phillies had been sucking and hovering around mediocre. this was the first big public step that helped me get back on board. it showed a committment to attrach fans and revenue to help build the team of the future and a team that would go on to win its championship.

  4. Geoff

    January 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I think its what they did WITH the phililes…???/

  5. Don M

    January 7, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I remember watching ESPN and seeing that on The Bottom Line… as it scrolled across the screen I started jumping up and down and pumping my fistz!!!

    And THome was the man when he was here.. I was in L-CF at the Vet when he hit that triple in his 1st at-bat… eventhough we were trailing the Pirates who hit a GRAND SALAMI in the 1st innings that game… and I remember Thome carrying us on his back and falling just short of the playoffs at the hands of the Marlins..

    BUT…. because we didn’t get to where we wanted to be with Thome, I’d personally rank Myers ahead of Thome… and like I said, I’d be interested to see where Moyer comes in.. How high up are we going to put Hamels… It will be interesting to see how this list shapes up, and its definitely a GREAT way to keep the conversations going this offseason… great job Tim and crew

  6. Tim Malcolm

    January 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I’m ranking players Phils’ careers only. So it’s just WITH the Phillies.

    If not, I’d have a radically different list.

    Don, Moyer ranked back a bit, I think at around 91.

  7. Don M

    January 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    ohh… I must have missed him… any chance we can add the previous names to the posting of the new post.. like when 78 comes out, list who #79-100 are to prevent that kinda thing?

    Also, did you start from 1 and start listing guys up from there, or start from 100 and start going down… Mitch Williams, Moyer, Mesa?, Thome… did pretty nice things with the Phillies, some set records, others lef us to the postseason or accomplished great milestones…. it will be interesting to see the rest of the list.. great idea for the offseason!

  8. Tim Malcolm

    January 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I started from 100.

    I’ll post an updated list before 75.

  9. john of Albuquerque

    January 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Jim Thome will be in the Top 100 for three teams — Cleveland, Philly and Chicago. He was a true gentleman and will be welcomed in Cooperstown five years after he retires. He is an asset to baseball.

  10. JohnKruksLoveChild

    January 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I was at the first game that Thome played in CPB after leaving the team, and he got a standing ovation when he came out for his first at bat.

    Considering what a rare feat that is for an ex-Philly, it says volumes about the kind of love this town has for him.

  11. ryan

    January 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    i still love Jim Thome. Ever since he met with the Local union guys when he signed here, i’ve loved the guy. he’s so genuine and so polite. great guy all around. a first ballot hall of famer! (as an Indian).

    it’s ashame we weren’t in the AL , we coulda had him and Howard in the same lineup and been one of the greatest offenses of all time.

  12. Chuck P

    January 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Interesting thought… what if Thome had not gotten injured?

    Thome energized our city… in a way, the energy that he brought to this team and this city helped fuel the passion that we see with our team today. I mean, if Thome doesn’t smack 45+ HR in consecutive seasons, do these guys have the same approach to the game? He single-handedly got us close to a championship… when our guys came up, they believed they were close. He changed the mentality of that clubhouse at a time when we needed it most. I think that Thome deserves to be on the list… his impact on this franchise is indeniable. As a player, he’ll be remembered for his time as an Indian but he’ll always be admired in Philadelphia.

  13. Don M

    January 7, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I think Thome was in one of the suites for the World Series… was that Game 4?? I can’t even remember if I was there for it, or if it was on TV…. the whole thing still feels like a dream.

    Last night I was looking through one of the 3 Phillies World Series Champions magazines that I bought and just looking at the pictures was UNREAL!!!

    its a shame Thome missed the CWS World Series, and then missed out here too

    9 more HRs gives him 550 for his career… he might be able to get to 600 depending on how much longer he plays. Great guy, he’ll always be loved here in Philly.. and we’ve got Charlie still, which is nice

  14. Jason B

    January 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I was at a Flyers game when Ed Wade was courting Thome. When they announced that he was in attendence, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. It was then that myself as a fan, finally started to see light at the end of the tunnel. Although the light was still way off in the distance, it was there. The Phillies had finally made a move to bring in a free agent, and it wasn’t Danny Freaking Tartabull!

  15. Jason B

    January 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    By the way, I wonder where Tartabull would rank on this list.

  16. TS

    January 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    “And if Danny Tartabull were here, I’m sure he’d say, ‘That’s correct, Jerry.’ “

  17. Mike B.

    January 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    For the first time in my life, I was legitimately excited about the Phillies when they signed Thome. His first season was the first time I remember ever thinking something good would happen during that at-bat, mostly because I was too young to really remember the ’93 team. I was sad to see him go, and I always root for him except when he’s playing us.

  18. Scott B

    January 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Thinking back, I actually think i started paying attention to the Phillies again after this signing. Guy can still mash with the best of them!

  19. oldgreymachine

    January 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Mitch Williams should definitely be higher than Thome!!! Nothing electrified the stadium like Williams walking out in the ninth to ‘wild thang.’

  20. Brooks

    January 7, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    When the Phils signed Thome, my finger was on the button. When they signed Millwood, I bought a partial season ticket plan for the first time. Now I am hooked, big time.
    One thing I will always remember aside from those majestic HRS Thome used to hit. I was sitting on the first base side, down pretty close to the field. It was the year Thome was hurt and his batting average was just around .200. He struck out and was booed. He looked at the crowd like we had all grown a set of horns, he could not believe it, niether could I. This gentle giant, a true class above most players in the ML, headed to the HOF was getting booed?
    Not a good reflection on us as fans and I know not representative of how most of us feel about the Phils and the game.

  21. Bruce

    January 8, 2009 at 1:29 am

    I asked this question before about why the current players on the Phillies roster should be included on the “–greatest Phillies” list and didn’t received a satisfactory answer. Their career records are obviously incomplete and may or may not achieve greater accomplishments in the ensuing years with the Phillies.
    So to Don M who wondered–“Im just confused how Thome would be ahead of Myers–“, if Myers continue where he left off the second half of last season, maybe Tim will revise his list again. ūüėČ

  22. Rob

    January 8, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Out of all the jerseys I’ve seen the man wear I still think he looks best in red pinstripes imho.

  23. metsblow4show

    January 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Two Words : CLASS ACT

  24. MA Phanatic

    January 8, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Still have my Jim Thome jersey. One of the classiest players baseball has or will see.

  25. Ben

    January 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I mark the Thome signing as one of the big differences in the Phillies today. I don’t know if it was the fact the organization showed that they would spend money when necessary, but I started to believe that this franchise actually cared about winning. From the Thome signing on the Phillies have been a winning ball club. Which from our history really is an accomplishment. Now I can’t imagine the Phillies not being in the thick of the playoff race each year.

  26. RichieAllen

    January 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    I feel the same as Ben……I had no hope for the Phils as far as signing good free agents etc,before Thome.
    But after this,they started getting serious…( I’m sure the new ballpark had a lot to do with it.)

    But Thome was a favorite of mine…..I wish we could have kept this guy…If you were to rank the players according to their impact on the organization,Thome would be a lot higher than 79.

    I dont think too many good players wanted to come here before the Thome signing.So he kind of had a major impact,in that respect.

  27. Greg V.

    January 8, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I’d rank Jim Thome much higher than 79! He may even make my top 25! i feel like putting my own list together. I knew people who met Thome and had nothing but nice things to say about him. A class act on and off the field.

    I recall when the White Sox were in the play off run against the Twins this year and how happy I was for Thome when he hit a nice blast during that game. I continue to root for the man, much like I will continue to root for Burrell.

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