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Relationship with Manuel 'so special' to Thome

New HOF electee says Phils senior advisor had big impact on his career
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

NEW YORK -- Jim Thome spoke with Charlie Manuel on Wednesday morning, hours before he got the call that he had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thome and Manuel still speak about twice a month.

NEW YORK -- Jim Thome spoke with Charlie Manuel on Wednesday morning, hours before he got the call that he had been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thome and Manuel still speak about twice a month.

"Him and I had a special moment," Thome said Thursday afternoon at the St. Regis Hotel, where the 2018 Hall of Fame class held a news conference. "When this slows down and I go home, him and I will probably talk on the phone God knows how long."

Thome's former Phils 'mates offer Hall congrats

Video: Thome thankful for all of HOF support after election

Manuel is in Clearwater, Fla., for the Phillies' organizational meetings in advance of Spring Training. Manuel, who is a senior advisor in the Phils' front office, said he kept checking his phone Wednesday evening for the announcement. He originally thought it had been scheduled for 5 p.m. ET, so when 6 p.m. passed and he heard nothing, he got a little worried.

"I thought, '... What's going on?'" Manuel said.

The announcement came a short time later. Thome's name got called, and Manuel could not have been happier, saying it was one of the greatest moments of his career.

"It's just as good as anything I've ever done in the game," Manuel said. "I've been in the game a long time, and that ranks up there with any of the success I've had. It's right up there at the top."

Video: Thome finds out he's been elected to Hall of Fame

Thome has made a point to mention Manuel every time he has had the opportunity to speak since the Hall of Fame announced he would join Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Alan Trammell and Jack Morris in Cooperstown on July 29. First, on Wednesday evening on MLB Network, when Manuel surprised Thome with a phone call. Second, on a conference call Wednesday night with reporters. Third, at Thursday's news conference.

Video: Manuel congratulates Thome for making Hall of Fame

"It's just so special," Thome said about their relationship. "I would not be standing here if it wasn't for him. I can truly and honestly say that. What he meant to my career, what he meant to me personally, the changes that we made. Yes, I think I had to do it, but I think what he did so well is he made every player feel like they were a great player. I reaped the rewards of his thought process with that."

Video: Thome on making the Hall of Fame, gives thanks

Thome's wife, Andrea, smiled Thursday when asked about the relationship between Thome and Manuel.

"It's like father and son," she said. "They are so close. They have a shorthand. When they get together, they don't even really finish sentences. It's just laughing and jumping in and interjecting. It's so fun to watch. Charlie has always been such a dear person."

Video: Thome discusses playing in Philadelphia

Andrea said it meant a lot to Thome to hear Manuel say his election into the Hall of Fame was one of the greatest moments of his career.

"I said to Jim, 'Can you imagine how Charlie felt?'" she said.

"I'm very proud," Manuel said. "Thome's not only a Hall of Fame baseball player, he's a Hall of Fame person, too."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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