CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Jim Thome now holds a permanent residence in Cooperstown, New York, the preferred landing spot for any baseball player following their career.
Now he still has one more place to go.
During his playing career, Thome’s mother Joyce watched her son from beneath the mezzanine under-hang up the third base line of then Jacobs Field. Following her passing in January 5th, 2005, the view from her seat was made a part of her headstone back near Peoria, Illinois.
“To this day, when I come to Peoria and going to my lodge and I need to talk to my mom, I stop there and the first thing I think of is Jacobs Field,” Thome said.
The 47-year-old father of two has not had a chance to visit his mother back in Peoria, but when he gets there, Thome will have some great news. He is a Hall of Famer, just as Joyce had always predicted.
“(Thome’s wife) Andrea and I had talked about this, we were going to go down the day before,” Jim told Indians play-by-play man Tom Hamilton at a filming for SportsTime Ohio on Friday, February 2nd. “Our kids had something going on that we did not go down, but one of the things we have talked about since going to New York for the incredible press conference, then I had to work at the MLB Network, was to go back kind of with our kids and embrace her being there and just what it means.
“It’s just very special. I look forward to that day.”
Not that the news had not already reached Joyce, as Thome’s twin sister Jenny had decorated their mother’s grave site upon the announcement of Jim’s election.
Sports have always been a family affair for the Thomes, and the culmination of a great career was no different. Jim, Andrea and their two children, Landon and Lila, gathered around their dinner table and waited for the call.
The night before the family waited for the 212 area code to pop up, young Thome had some advice for his father: make sure your phone is charged.
It was, it rang, and the newest Hall of Famer got to share that moment with his family, including his father, Chuck Jr.
The man who is known as the nicest in sports spoke at length about his teammates, his family, and Andrea, who he thanked at length at the beginning of the conversation with Hamilton.
The love that the city of Cleveland showed Thome was reciprocated by the man himself, and according to him, the family he talked so much about shared the love for the city he played for so long.
“My sister, my brothers, my dad, they genuinely love everything about Cleveland,” Thome said. “For many years they always talked about their summer trips to Cleveland. The drive here. The Flats and the way we played as a team. It was a special time.”
Thome’s conversation with Hamilton will air at 7 p.m. ET on February 9th on SportsTime Ohio.