“(Now) we’ve got a chance to win,” Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “And this game is all about winning.”
Thome began his big league career in Cleveland, and in 12 seasons with the Indians from 1991-2002, Thome had hit 334 home runs – the top total in franchise history. In 2002 alone, Thome hit 52 home runs to set a new franchise single-season record.
At 32, Thome was a prime hitter in the prime of his career.
But for Indians fans, the move meant the end of an era that saw Cleveland win six American League Central Division titles and two AL pennants during Thome’s tenure.
“It’s not for me to leave town and bash people,” said Thome, who was initially criticized by Indians fans for his decision to sign with the Phillies. “I’ve got too many wonderful memories of Cleveland. (But) I went to Philadelphia and embraced it.
“I loved my time there.”