Thome hon­ored by White Sox be­fore game

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Selig­man

Jim Thome now has a gi­gan­tic bat to go with a Hall of Fame plaque.

The Chicago White Sox gave the for­mer slug­ger with the big stick an ap­pro­pri­ate gift dur­ing a pregame cer­e­mony be­fore the Aug. 11 matchup against the Cleve­land In­di­ans, an­other honor for a player en­shrined in Coop­er­stown in his first year of el­i­gi­bil­ity two weeks ago.

“This is so spe­cial,” Thome said prior to the cer­e­mony. “This is my fam­ily, this is where I work, this is where we live . ... This is re­ally spe­cial.”

The White Sox showed high­lights of Thome’s time with them as well as his Hall of Fame in­duc­tion. Just as she did in Coop­er­stown, his daugh­ter Lila sang the na­tional an­them.

Thome got a stand­ing ova­tion as he walked out of the dugout. The White Sox pre­sented sev­eral gifts, in­clud­ing a black 8-foot bat that had his name and im­ages of him.

Thome thanked for­mer White Sox star Paul Kon­erko for at­tend­ing the in­duc­tion. He men­tioned team­mates such as Jer­maine Dye, A.J. Pierzyn­ski, Scott Podsed­nik and Joe Crede while prais­ing for­mer man­ager Ozzie Guillen and his staff as well as White Sox owner Jerry Reins­dorf and team ex­ec­u­tives Ken Wil­liams and Rick Hahn.

The trib­ute was fit­ting for a five-time All-Star who hit 612 homers in 22 sea­sons with the Tribe, Philadel­phia, Chicago, the Los An­ge­les Dodgers, Min­nesota and Bal­ti­more.

Thome was drafted by Cleve­land out of Illi­nois Cen­tral Col­lege in the 13th round of the 1989 draft and spent his first 12 ma­jor league sea­sons with the In­di­ans. But he forged a strong con­nec­tion with the White Sox and their fans once Chicago ac­quired him in a trade with Philadel­phia prior to the 2006 sea­son. Thome hit 134 homers for the White Sox be­fore get­ting dealt to the Los An­ge­les Dodgers in Au­gust 2009. None were big­ger than the drive he hit in the 2008 AL Cen­tral tiebreaker game to give the White Sox a 1-0 vic­tory over the Twins. Chicago then lost to Tampa Bay in the AL Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

Thome grew up about 130 miles south­west of Comiskey Park in Peo­ria and re­mains a pop­u­lar fig­ure on the South Side. He is cur­rently a spe­cial as­sis­tant to gen­eral man­ager Hahn.

The In­di­ans un­veiled a statue of Thome at Pro­gres­sive Field four years ago and are sched­uled to honor him again next week­end. The Twins are also giv­ing out Thome bob­ble­heads on Aug. 25.

MATT MARTON — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jim Thome, who was in­ducted this year into the Base­ball Hall of Fame, waves to fans be­fore the team’s base­ball game against the In­di­ans on Aug. 11 in Chicago.

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