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Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 15:37 GMT
Phillies thinking big
Thome hit .304 with 52 homers for Cleveland last season
Thome could turn Philadelphia into winners
The Philadelphia Phillies have underlined their intention to leave Veterans Stadium on a winning note next season.

After unveiling his latest signing, first baseman Jim Thome, coach Larry Bowa said he was hopeful that Tom Glavine would be his next.

The two-time Cy Young Award winning Atlanta pitcher is currently considering offers from both the Phillies and the New York Mets.

"My birthday is 6 December," said Bowa. "I've got two presents already and I hope there will be another present when I wake up on Friday."

Thome, baseball's premier off-season free agent, has signed a six-year, $85m contract.

The 32-year-old left-handed slugger left the Cleveland Indians after 11 years in which he hit a franchise record 334 home runs.

Winning roster

"I am here to win a championship," Thome told a news conference.

"Winning is very addictive and being in the post-season is fun. It drives you to go back."

The Phillies, who finished third in the National League East last season, have not been involved in the post-season since 1993.

David Bell is now a Phillies player
Bell was 2002's third-ranked NL third basemen
But they hope to use the free-agent market to create a winning roster before departing Veterans Stadium for a new arena in 2004.

The club, with only one winning season since 1993, has also signed San Francisco Giants third baseman David Bell on a four-year, $17m deal.

Bowa said: "This is the most excitement I've seen since Pete Rose was coming here (from Cincinnati after the 1978 season) when I was a player."

Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal told the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I'm really excited - we've got a chance to win."

Thomes hit .304 with 52 homers for Cleveland last season, and also knocked in 118 runs.

He is expected to fall into the line-up behind clean-up batter Pat Burrell, the Phillies leftfielder.

Early media reports of his decision to join the Phillies had an immediate impact on season ticket sales.


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2002 World Series

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