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Phillies slugger Thome lands on HOF ballot

Power hitter smashed 612 career HRs, led Philadelphia's resurgence
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Thome sparked a baseball renaissance in Philadelphia in 2003. He could be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee 15 years later.

Thome is one of seven players with Phillies connections on the 2018 Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday. He is considered a heavy favorite to receive votes on 75 percent of the ballots needed for enshrinement in Cooperstown, N.Y. The election announcement will be on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Thome sparked a baseball renaissance in Philadelphia in 2003. He could be a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee 15 years later.

Thome is one of seven players with Phillies connections on the 2018 Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot, released Monday. He is considered a heavy favorite to receive votes on 75 percent of the ballots needed for enshrinement in Cooperstown, N.Y. The election announcement will be on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network.

Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Thome hit 612 home runs in a 22-year career. He signed a six-year, $85 million contract to join the Phillies before the 2003 season, signaling the Phillies were ready to win again. They nearly made the 2003 postseason, but did not come close in '04. Thome then missed the second half of the '05 season due to injuries. Then-general manager Pat Gillick traded him to the White Sox that offseason to make room for Ryan Howard. Thome returned briefly in '12 before being dealt to the Orioles.

Curt Schilling and Billy Wagner return to the Hall of Fame ballot. Schilling appeared on 45 percent of ballots last year. He appeared on 52.3 percent of ballots in 2015. It is Schilling's sixth year of eligibility. Wagner appeared on 10.2 percent of ballots in '17. This is his third year of eligibility.

Players have 10 years of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot, provided they appear on at least five percent of ballots each year.

Newcomers to the ballot include Scott Rolen, Jamie Moyer, Brad Lidge and Kevin Millwood.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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