Baseball Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Jim Thome

(Photo by PH - USA Today Sports Images)

Hall of Famer Jim Thome Will Receive Highest Honor at this Weekend's Musial Awards

The 2018 HOF inductee will receive the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship this weekend.

November 15, 2018 - 3:41 pm
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Jim Thome couldn't say yes fast enough when he was asked to come to St. Louis to be part of the annual Stan Musial Awards, then he found out he was going to be taking home the most prestigious honor of the night. On Saturday, he'll be given the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship. 

"Anytime you can be associated with Mr. Musial, it's just such an honor," Thome says. "The man himself I think speaks in such high regard, anyone you talk to in the game who has ever met him or been associated with him has just had nothing but great things to say."

You can hear the full conversation between our Thome and KMOX sports director Tom Ackerman at the bottom of this page.

Related story: Loyola Chicago's Sister Jean Coming To St. Louis For Musial Awards

The 48-year-old Peoria, Ill. native played 22 years in the majors, same as Musial, and is currently a TV anlayst for MLB Network. He's being honored for not only his baseball achievements: Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, 13 walk-off homers are most the MLB history and he is one of only five players in big league history with at least 500 home runs, 1,500 runs scored, 1,600 RBIs and 1,700 walks.

Jim never forgot family and has nurtured his roots in Peoria, Ill. At the suggestion of his mom, Joyce, he started a benefit for Children’s Hospital of Illinois in 1994. The event was renamed in her memory after her death in 2005 and has raised more than $1.7 million. When tornadoes ravaged towns around Peoria in 2013, Jim stepped up to donate $100,000. As proof of his impact and inspiration, four of the teams for whom he played – Cleveland, the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota and Philadelphia − followed his lead. Jim has also donated to the sports programs of his alma maters, Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, and continues to volunteer at baseball camps in Illinois.

Through his philanthropy, Jim also left behind a piece of himself in each of the six major league cities he represented and earned the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award, reflecting his community involvement, sportsmanship and play between the lines.

And he's just a general fan of Musial's career, who's able to spit out the Cardinals legend's career stats as easy as spelling his name. 

"(Musial) was obviously one of the greatest of all-time," Thome says. "I mean you look at his numbers and they're absolutely incredible. I mean he had 1,815 hits on the road and at home, his lifetime batting average is I think .331, he was 25 home runs short of 500 ... A lot of people may not know this but he hit 17 home runs off Warren Spahn, who is one of the greatest lefties of all time. So I mean the stats go on and on."

For a quick fact check, the career batting average is correct, the career home run total is spot on and the home/away split is correct (exactly 1,815 career hits both at home and on the road).