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Phillies will honor 'Big Jim' on June 14

Philadelphia Phillies

With Jimmy Rollins on first base and two out in the first inning of a June 14, 2004, afternoon game against Cincinnati at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Thome blasted a 3-2 pitch from Jose Acevedo into the seats in left-center for his historic 400th home run.

Now, 14 years later to the exact date on another afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will have a pre-game salute to their former first baseman. Not only for the home run, but the fact Thome will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon, July 30, in Cooperstown.

With Jimmy Rollins on first base and two out in the first inning of a June 14, 2004, afternoon game against Cincinnati at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Thome blasted a 3-2 pitch from Jose Acevedo into the seats in left-center for his historic 400th home run.

Now, 14 years later to the exact date on another afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will have a pre-game salute to their former first baseman. Not only for the home run, but the fact Thome will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday afternoon, July 30, in Cooperstown.

Thome will be wearing a Cleveland Indians cap on his HOF bronze plaque, only fitting as he spent 13 of his 22 big league seasons in Cleveland, which originally drafted him in the 13th round in 1989.

Phillies Alumni

He also spent four seasons with the Phillies and Chicago White Sox, two with the Minnesota Twins and parts of one season each with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.

While his Phillies stay wasn't that long, Big Jim made a huge impact for the franchise as it closed Veterans Stadium and opened Citizens Bank Park.

With Citizens Bank Park on the immediate horizon, the Phillies signed him as a free agent to a six-year, $85 million contract on December 6, 2002, signaling the start of a new era in franchise history. When he took the podium on the day he signed with the Phils, Thome broke down and cried, returning after a short break to say, "Oh, I hate it when my allergies kick in."

The left-handed slugger hit 101 home runs for the Phillies and one against them. He hit the last home run at the Vet (2003). His 100th homer with the Phillies (2012) made him just the fourth player in major league history with at least 100 for three different teams, joining Reggie Jackson, Darrell Evans and Alex Rodriguez. No. 609 was another historic one in a Phillies uniform, a pinch-hit, walk-off homer (2012). It was his 13th walk-off homer, a new major league record. Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx shared the previous record.

His very first home run came as a third baseman for Cleveland at the old Yankee Stadium, 10/4/91, off Steve Farr. His last homer, No. 612, came as a DH for the Orioles at Camden Yards, 9/26/12, off Toronto's, Carlos Villanueva.

Larry Shenk is editor/author of the Alumni page.

Philadelphia Phillies