BY JEFF FALK
Jim Thome has one of those infectuous personalities. He seems to endear himself to fans, no matter where he goes.
The fact that Thome, 40, recently became only the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to sock 600 career home runs is interesting for a couple of reasons. On Monday, the Minnesota Twins’ designated hitter cranked a pair of roundtrippers in a 9-6 win over Detroit.
Not only did Thome’s milestone blast cement his status as a hall-of-famer, it jogged the recent – and fond – memories of Phillie fans. For it was half-a-decade or so ago when Thome’s humble workmanlike approach to the game and his down-to-earth apprecation of what he has been given made him a fan favorite in Philadelphia.
So, it was that Thome’s exit from Philadelphia was met with the usual groans and gripes of the Phllies faithful, which over the years had seen more than one of its beloved leave and go on to star in another city. But what one must remember is that that was a moment when playing time was being created for a blossoming – but yet unproven – Ryan Howard.
In retrospect, the move by Philadelphia brass has become a hard one to question, especially given Howard’s emergence as one of baseball’s most feared sluggers. But it was also a move that turned out fairly well for Mr. Thome.
Fate? Perhaps. Or maybe it was just that Thome would’ve succeeded no matter where he went.