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  • Jim Thome Moments

    It was the end of the 2002 season. Jim Thome was finally a free agent after years of torturing the Twins. (And particularly, torturing Rick Reed. Good lord, did Big Jim take it to Reed. Thome hit more home runs (9) off of Reed than any other pitcher, even though he only had 27 at-bats against him. Think about that. He hit .333 JUST IN HOME RUNS against Rick Reed. Lordy.)

    Anyway, Thome was a free agent. As a blogger who is asked these sort of things all the time, I must have received the question "Will the Twins sign Jim Thome?" roughly a dozen times per week. Never mind that the Twins had made absolutely zero intimations that they intended to pursue Jim Thome. Or that the Twins had a left-handed DH at the time named David Ortiz. Or that the Twins still had no hint of a stadium. Hell, they had just barely survived contraction. And yet EVERYONE wanted me to tell them the Twins might chase Jim Thome, the biggest free agent on the market.

    It speaks to how Jim Thome always SEEMED like a fit for the Twins, even when there was no practical way in which he was a fit for the Twins. He publicly heaped praise on how the Twins played the game. He hit the snot out of our ballpark. He looked adorable wearing flannel next to a blue ox. He was a perfect fit, except that he was just too damn good.

    He signed that year with the Phillies for $85 million dollars. It locked him up for six years…during which time he still managed to end another Twins season with a game winning home run in game 163 for the arch-rival White Sox. Of course.

    But when the contract ended, the 39-year-old was looking to reestablish his career. Spurned by the White Sox, quarantined from the National League, he finally found his way to the Twins. (By the way, well played Bill Smith.) Not only did his career get taken off of life support, it produced a number of memorable moments: Thome passing Harmon Killebrew on the all-time list, his blast off the flagpole on Labor Day, his 600th home run and best of all….

    The home run off Matt Thornton that served as the dagger for the White Sox 2010 season. Hell, I would have raised Thome’s $1.6M salary just to hear Hawk Harrelson be rendered that utterly speechless in disgust. Some treasures cannot be bought.

    In a golden season for the Twins in so many ways, Thome added his own luster. And the next year, even in a season in decline, he served as a reminder of the dignity of the game. He’ll return to the Twin Cities tomorrow with his old/new team the Philadelphia Philles, giving us one more chance to reminisce about our favorite (and most painful) Thome moments.

    But don’t feel like you have to wait. That’s what the comments are for….
    This article was originally published in blog: Jim Thome Moments started by John Bonnes
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      After what Thome did against the Twins for so many seasons, and esp. what he did in that game 163 wearing a Sux uniform against the Twins, when the Twins signed him, I felt the same way I felt when the Vikings signed Bret Favre... Class act and whatever (Thome not Favre) but he made the Twins miserable for many many years. Find it very hard to root for him.
    1. Cap'n Piranha's Avatar
      Cap'n Piranha -
      Now THAT put a smile on my face...
    1. bdhenders's Avatar
      bdhenders -
      Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Piranha View Post
      Now THAT put a smile on my face...
      Me too! Very nice video and a class act. I was there when he hit 2 HRs in one day to pass Harmon Killebrew. It was a special day. He also hit 2 HR's when he surpassed 600 HRs.
    1. four6three's Avatar
      four6three -
      Quote Originally Posted by bdhenders View Post
      He also hit 2 HR's when he surpassed 600 HRs.
      The icing on that cake is that they went over Delmon's head.
    1. shawntheroad's Avatar
      shawntheroad -
      Thome's pinch hit HR in Philly in 2010! I was at the game. The Twins were down big and the Philly fans were cheering him. He then sends a 440+ foot rocket into the bullpen starting a 5 run 9th inning come back that the Twins eventually won. Philly fans in my area immediatly started regretting the prior cheering.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      The absolute best job of play calling that Hawk has ever done in his entire life. Well played.

      Jim Thome represents everything that is great about baseball. He has a sterling reputation, does whatever is requested of him, goes out of his way to help younger players... oh, and he's pretty good too.

      As fun as it is to hate the White Sox, I always loved what Thomebrought to the table when he played there.
    1. James Richter's Avatar
      James Richter -
      I love the call on the flagpole shot. "Oh my goodness gracious" is the Dick Bremer equivalent of "Holy sh#$!"
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by shawntheroad View Post
      Thome's pinch hit HR in Philly in 2010! I was at the game. The Twins were down big and the Philly fans were cheering him. He then sends a 440+ foot rocket into the bullpen starting a 5 run 9th inning come back that the Twins eventually won. Philly fans in my area immediatly started regretting the prior cheering.
      Yeah, I was at that game too and that was an amazing game, because Butera hit the winning HR later and I remember the texts I got from the guy I am quoting here and another character at that moment
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