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Thome named NL Player of Month
07/03/2004  8:12 PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Carrying a team on your back can get tiring -- unless you're name is Jim Thome.

Then it can earn you the National League Player of the Month honors. Thome smacked 15 homers and drove in 31 runs, totals that led the Majors for the month -- not to mention his .816 slugging percentage and 80 total bases.

"He's always been a great hitter, but in June he was even better," said Bobby Abreu, a big benefactor of hitting in front of Thome. "He's a fun player to watch."

Thome's 25 runs scored and 20 extra-base hits tied for the Major League lead. He also hit .306 for the month with a .430 on-base percentage.

By swatting 15 homers in June, he ties the franchise mark for homers in a month with Cy Williams. Williams turned that trick in May 1923.

Thome should also find out Sunday that he's made the All-Star team for the first time as a National Leaguer. With a Major League-leading 27 home runs and 58 RBIs (tied with Pat Burrell for the team lead) Thome appears likely to make the squad when it is announced Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

"I'd be shocked if he didn't make the All-Star team," said manager Larry Bowa. "He's an incredible player. He gets in these streaks where he's incredibly hot. It doesn't matter where you're playing, what pitches they're throwing him. The city has taken to him like anybody I've ever seen here. He's one of those blue collar workers who come in every day."

In June, Thome put in a lot of overtime. Earlier this month, he captured NL Player of the Week honors for June 14-20. That week he clubbed five homers and 10 RBIs, including the 400th of his career on June 14.

Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will present Thome with a luxury Swiss timepiece from its Safari collection.

Personal achievement aside, Thome wants to keep the focus on the field, and on the team aspect. He'd like to go to the All-Star Game, but won't obsess over it.

"I haven't really thought to much about (the All-Star Game)," Thome said. "The focus here is on winning games. Of course it would be an honor to go."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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