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Indians to honor Jim Thome with statue

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 23: Jim Thome #25 of the Cleveland Indians waves to the crowd during a tribute ceremony prior to the game between the Minnissota Twins and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jim Thome

Jason Miller

There was some bitterness when Jim Thome bolted for Philadelphia following the 2002 season, but it hasn’t taken long for him to be embraced in his second act with Cleveland.

According to the Associated Press, the Indians announced plans before tonight’s game to honor Thome by erecting a bronze statue of his likeness in Heritage Park beyond the wall in center field. The statue will depict Thome doing his trademark bat point.

Jordan Bastian of reports that the statue will be in the same area where his 511-foot home run landed on July 3, 1999, which is the longest home run in the history of the ballpark.

Too soon for a Thome statue? Maybe. Others (Larry Doby, hello?) who are also deserving? You bet. But including his two-run blast in the bottom of the third inning tonight -- the 604th home run of his career -- the 41-year-old slugger holds the Indians’ franchise record with 337 home runs.