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Big weekend for Big Jim: Thome gets statue, ‘plays’ thirdLost in all the clinching celebrations and wild card action this weekend were two interesting bits of Jim Thome(notes) news coming out of Cleveland.

On Friday night, the Indians held a ceremony honoring his career and announced they will build a statue of him that will stand at Progressive Field.

And by Sunday, they had already completed and placed the statue in the actual infield, allowing Thome to play third base for one pitch in the ninth inning of a 6-4  loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Oh, I kid ... I kid.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:  

"A statue of Thome will be built and placed near the spot where his 511-foot homer landed July 3, 1999. The homer, off Kansas City's Don Wengert, bounced out of the ballpark and onto Eagle Avenue. The statue will be of Thome in familiar pose before the pitcher begins his delivery, the bat pointing toward the mound.

Thome, along with most in the building, was stunned. "I mean, that's surreal," he said in the postgame clubhouse. "A statue — that's as good as it gets. I'm speechless."

Ah, that's a nice honor for ol' Jim Jam, even if the cynic remembers all those times Thome was endlessly booed in Cleveland after he left for Philadelphia and wonders if the Indians are just trying to position themselves to be named the cap on Thome's Hall of Fame plaque.

As for Thome's brief cameo at the hot corner, the move was designed as a nod to his roots in Cleveland. Thome began his career playing third for the Indians, but hadn't manned the position since Sept. 29, 1996. The short appearance drew cheers from the crowd, but there's still a chance that Cleveland will get to cheer him again in 2012. The 41-year-old Thome said he's still undecided on whether he'll retire after this season.

Big weekend for Big Jim: Thome gets statue, ‘plays’ third

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