Thome New WOF Inductee

By Phillies Insider

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 14:  Jim Thome #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches his 400th career homerun leave the park on a two out, full count pitch from Jose Acevedo of the Cincinnati Reds which tied the score 2-2 in the first inning before rain delayed the game after 2 1/2 innings with the Reds winning 4-3 during MLB action at the Citizens Bank Park on June 14, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Jim Thome is the 2016 inductee into the Toyota Wall of Fame. Knowing their days at the Vet were numbered and Citizens Bank Park was right around the corner, the Phillies signed Thome, a free agent, to a six-year, $85 million contract on December 6, 2002, signaling the start of a new era in franchise history.

The slugging first baseman hit 101 home runs for the Phillies and led the National League with 47 in 2003, then a club record for a first baseman and one shy of Mike Schmidt’s club record. He hit the last home run at the Vet (2003) and his 400th at Citizens Bank Park (2004). 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. #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.

In recognition of his community involvement, he was given the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and the Lou Gehrig Award in 2004 while playing for the Phillies. He was also an NL All-Star that season.

When he becomes eligible, Thome is a sure shot to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

WOF Voting Process
Fan voting on phillies.com begins the annual process for selecting the Toyota Wall of Fame inductee. A 12-Alumni ballot for fan voting appears on phillies.com during spring training. The top five as selected by the fans is presented to a Special Wall of Fame Selection Committee consisting of baseball writers, broadcasters and club executives. That committee selects the inductee. The annual ballot is determined each January by Phillies executives.

Consideration is given to ability, character and contributions to the Phillies and baseball plus special achievements. Players, managers and coaches with four or more years of service are eligible. With rare occasions, all candidates must be retired for three years before they can be eligible for the ballot.

The final five candidates this year were Jim Fregosi, Jim Konstanty, Scott Rolen, Thome and Manny Trillo.

Tonight’s Arms

On Deck game vs. Orioles

Aaron Nola and Brandon Finnegan, who have something in common other than being 22-year-old pitchers, oppose each other tonight in Cincinnati.

Two years ago at this time, they were pitching college ball, Nola at LSU and Finnegan at TCU. Both were selected in the 2014 draft, Nola as the seventh overall pick and Finnegan, 17th overall by the Royals.

Impressive Debut
LHP Jason Groome, one of the premier high school players in the country, made his 2016 debut on Tuesday afternoon. Excerpts from the Asbury Park Press online story:

“Barnegat coach Dan McCoy was on his way to the mound to take Jason Groome out after 59 pitches with no outs in the top of the fifth inning. For the baseball universe beyond the Shore Conference, the rest was immaterial.

“They’d seen enough, with Groome, considered by many to be the №1 prospect in the nation heading into June’s MLB Draft, struck out 10 and got two pop-up outs in four-plus innings, allowing no runs and one hit in his first start of the season.

“His fastball averaged between 92 and 94 mph on a frigid day, while his wicked curveball was consistently between 75 to 77 mph.

“In all, there were probably 150 baseball professionals on hand, including Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, director of player development Joe Jordan and director of scouting Johnny Almaraz.”

The Phillies have the first overall selection in the June draft.

Merchandise Gem

00PhilaNova

Starting today a Phillies/Villanova cap will be on sale exclusively in the Majestic Clubhouse Store in Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies and ARAMARK had several dozen caps on hand Saturday afternoon during the Futures Game and sold out. More were ordered.

On The Tube
While I’m infamously known as a person with a face for radio, I’ll be making two TV appearances soon promoting my new book, The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits:

**This Friday, 7:35 a.m., “Breakfast On Broad” on The Comcast Network. @BOBOONTCH.

**Monday, April 11, 11:20 a.m., “NBC 10 News Today.”

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