And those who haven’t followed his career as closely as the people in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, LA and Minnesota would ask, “what could possibly be missing in the future Hall of Famer’s career.
Sure Thome became the sixth player to slug 600 home runs and is eighth on the list all-time. Sure he’s reached the playoffs a few times in his career.
But what he’s really lacking is a World Series ring.
That could be the number one reason Thome decided to come back to Philadelphia.
Sure, his hitting mentor and second father Charlie Manuel is still managing the Phillies. But on CSN’s Daily News Live yesterday, Thome made clear the number one reason he came back to Philadelphia.
After taking a few seconds to soak in Michael Barkann’s question, “Best thing about returning to Philadelphia,” Thome did what he has done best for his 21-year career: tug at the fans’ hear strings.
“Dreaming of celebrating on Broad Street.”
Not only does Thome want to just win a World Series, he wants to celebrate that championship on Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA with over two million screaming, die-hard and passionate Phillies fans.
And can you blame him? Since being traded to the Chicago White Sox in 2006, months after the White Sox won the World Series, the ring became more and more elusive.
Two years later while the Thome was still in Chicago, the Phillies won their first championship in 24 years.
The next season would prove to be even more torture for Thome, who was traded to the Dodgers as their top left-handed bat off the bench. It was torture because he saw the Phillies first-hand break the collective hearts of the Dodgers for a second straight year in the NLCS en route to a second straight playoff berth.
The five-time All-Star would sniff the playoffs one more time the following year with the Twins.
Now at 41 years of age, Thome’s window is slowly closing. He doesn’t like to think about where or when he will finish his career, also stated yesterday on DNL.
But landing himself back in the city where he helped turn a franchise around could be his best and final shot at celebrating on Broad Street.
With Ryan Howard possibly out for a few weeks into the 2012 season, Thome will have a chance to start at first base, something he has done only a small handful of times since 2006.
Along with Ty Wigginton, they will platoon and give the Phillies some much needed depth on the corners heading into this season.
Thome also will replace Ross Gload as the go-to left-handed bat off the bench. But as a pinch-hitter, Thome is hitting only .233 with four homers and 14 RBIs with 52 strike outs in 144 career plate appearances.
But as it’s been seen before, if a player gets used to the pinch-hitting role, especially with days sprinkled in where he’s the starter, Thome could find a rhythm this season and be a very valuable piece come playoff time.
Thome will do anything for Manuel and the Phillies if he wants his dream to come true. It would only be fitting to see him finally hold that World Series trophy down Broad Street.