After 22 seasons, 2,543 games, 10,313 plate appearances, 612 home runs, 1,699 RBI and 1,747 walks, former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Jim Thome will officially be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Cooperstown, New York.
"I was blessed to be around wonderful teammates throughout every organization I was in," Thome told WPVI's Jeff Skyversky. "I was in organizations that competed to win. ... Having teammates that were winners and that were wanted to be 'in the moment' — we call it as a baseball player — and I think that rubbed off. I was blessed to have great managers as well that pushed ... and did the things to help me and my teammates to become good players."
One of Thome's managers that he bonded with the most is former Phillies World Series champion skipper, Charlie Manuel. Thome told MLB.com in August 2016 that Manuel "meant everything" to him, and that he taught him "confidence," how to hit, and "everything about baseball." The two first met in 1989, and during Thome's rookie season in 1991, with Manuel as the Cleveland Indians hitting coach. Manuel managed Thome in three seasons with the Indians in 2000-2002, and part of two seasons with the Phillies in 2005 and 2012.
Thome credits longevity and having "solid, really good years," as the key to landing enshrinement in Cooperstown.
"You have to play a long time. You look at all the guys that are here, that are enshrined ... they were able to do wonderful things during those years," Thome said. "I was gifted and blessed to be able to play a long time as well. ... We're all going to fail. We're going to have success, but how do you keep success for enough long period of time where you don't go in and out of these roller coaster rides of failure and having success?"
Thome ranks eighth all-time in home runs (612), behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Albert Pujols (631) and Ken Griffey Jr. (630). Pujols, 38, still remains active with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"At the end of the day, when we walk into Cooperstown, and you are among eight or nine guys that accomplished that from a home run total, that is really special," Thome said.
Thome will be inducted on Sunday with Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman and Chipper Jones — voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) — as well as with Alan Trammell and Jack Morris — voted in by the Modern Era committee.
This year's Hall of Fame class is only the fourth time ever that the BBWAA voted in four players in one year, joining 2015 (Craig Biggio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz), 1955 (Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons, Dazzy Vance) and 1947 (Mickey Cochrane, Frankie Frisch, Lefty Grove, Carl Hubbell), according to CBS Sports. In addition, the last class to feature six Hall of Fame inductees was 2014 (Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Tony La Russa, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre).
While Thome will become the 15th player ever to be enshrined as an Indian, his left a tremendous impact on the Phillies during their transition from Veterans Stadium to Citizens Bank Park and the 2007-2011 window of success. MLB.com notes several career feats and milestones Thome achieved while donning red pinstripes in 2003-2005 and 2012:
In two separate stints with the Phillies (2003-05, 2012), Thome hit 101 home runs, drove in 281 runs and slugged .541 over 391 games. His 47 home runs during the 2003 season led the National League and helped him to a fourth-place finish in MVP voting. The following year, Thome was selected to his fourth career All-Star Game and became the second Phillie since 1930 to record back-to-back 40-home run seasons.
The left-handed slugger reached several career milestones while playing for the Phillies, most notably hitting his 400th career home run on June 14, 2004 at Citizens Bank Park. In 2012, Thome became the fourth player in MLB history to hit 100 home runs with three different teams, and also set an MLB record by hitting his 13th career walk-off home run.
Thome would go on to become the only player in MLB history to hit his 300th (Indians), 400th (Phillies), 500th (Chicago White Sox) and 600th (Minnesota Twins) home runs with different teams.
In 391 games as a Phillie, Thome hit .260/.384/.541 with 101 home runs and 281 RBI. The five-time All-Star and 1996 Silver Slugger Award winner was the 38th inductee onto the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2016.
Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m. Fans can watch on MLB Network or on BaseballHall.org's stream, or listen on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM. More than 50 of the 72 living Hall of Famers are expected to attend, according to CBS Sports.