08/18/2003 6:43 PM ET
Thome named Player of the Week
Slugger's home runs powered Phils to 5-1 homestand
PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Thome put in quite a weekend at Veterans Stadium, smacking a trio of game-changing two-run homers in successive contests and hitting a total of five during a 5-1 Phillies homestand.
For those efforts, Thome was named the National League's Pepsi Co-Player of the Week with Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling.
Thome batted .318 (7-for-22) for the week, scoring six runs, while leading the Majors with a 1.045 slugging percentage. In addition to the three, two-run homer games against the Cardinals, he smacked two homers on Aug. 13 in an 11-4 win over the Brewers.
This was Thome's fourth overall Pepsi Player of the Week Award, his first in the National League since signing a six-year, $85 million contract in the offseason.
Each of his homers against the Cardinals produced a different, yet effective result. The first extended a one-run lead, the second gave the Phillies a one-run lead and final one snapped a tie. All were met with a mandatory roar of the crowd and a curtain call from Thome.
"When [the fans] show you love, you have to give it back," said Thome.
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
His final homer, in front of a national audience, left the park so fast that Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas couldn't complete his signature home run call before the ball crashed into the right-field upper deck at Veterans Stadium. It was the 23rd ball sent there in the history of the stadium.
"That ball got out pretty quick," said manager Larry Bowa. "He's [mishit] some balls that have gone a long way. That ball [Sunday] night just kept on going."
With Thome, so go the Phillies, who are 22-6 in games in which Thome homers and are now 15 games over .500, their highest point this season. As a veteran with playoff experience, he has quickly risen to the occasion as the calendar steams toward September.
"You try to do that, but you never know when you're going to swing the bat well, when that's going to happen," he said.
The younger players are enjoying the Thome show.
"He can hit one every game like that," said center fielder Marlon Byrd, after Saturday's homer, though it doesn't matter which homer he was referring to. "Every time he hits one, it's
fun to watch."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball
or its clubs.