• ON PHILADELPHIA One reason I signed here [before the 2003 season] is that I thought the city would help me push myself. And it has helped me mentally. You have to focus every night at the ballpark. The passion is my favorite part of the city. You go from "we love you" to "we hate you" back to "you walk on water." You're driving, and somebody might wave or somebody might flip you off.
• ON HUNTING WITH BOW AND ARROW Bow hunting is like hitting. There are successes and frustration; it's all in your grip and how you follow through. There's different poundage of bows, and you need to get a feel for it, like a favorite bat. I have a hunting lodge an hour west of my home in Peoria, Ill. There's a good chance of getting a deer on my place, if you wait. You try to manage the population and do it right. The idea is not to just go out every day and kill a deer.
• ON JIM THOME DRIVE NEAR PEORIA It's by my high school. At times I make a detour to drive down it. I do it every year before I go to spring training. It's a way of keeping me humble, reminding me where I come from.
• ON APPROACHING CUBS SLUGGER DAVE KINGMAN FOR AN AUTOGRAPH I was eight or nine. Being a Cubs fan, Kingman was a guy I followed. I asked him for an autograph, but he just walked by. It influenced how I handle things. When you can't sign, you make sure you're not a jerk about it. Maybe you say, "Sorry, can't do it today. I have to do this or that." People respect that. I don't turn down many autograph requests, especially from kids.
• ON HIS FIRST WORLD SERIES HOMER, AS AN INDIAN IN GAME 5 VERSUS ATLANTA IN 1995 You try not to show anyone up, but that home run I kinda watched. It was the emotion of it. I'm not exactly embarrassed I did that, but looking back, you write it off as something you did when you were young. You try to learn from it. That's the only time I've ever watched a home run, at least purposely.
• ON STEROIDS The strongest thing I put into my body is steak and eggs. I just eat. I'm not a supplement guy. I try to get in shape, get ready to go. Steroids are not even a thought.
• ON THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER, JOYCE, ON JAN. 5 As a baseball player you feel you can do some good things for your family. But when there's an illness [lung cancer] like my mother had, you're helpless. Watching her struggle was the most frustrating part. I remember her every day. I keep her picture by our bed. If I had to give advice about parents, it would be this: Value your relationships with them. Those relationships are what you stand for. Not only are we blessed to wear a uniform with PHILLIES on the front, but we have our names on the back. That name means you're playing for your family.
--As told to Michael Farber
THOME, 34, BROKE IN WITH CLEVELAND IN 1991. HE HAS AVERAGED 45 HOME RUNS IN TWO SEASONS WITH PHILADELPHIA
"THE STRONGEST THING I PUT INTO MY BODY IS STEAK AND EGGS"
Photograph by Michael Heape
DIANA ELIAZOV (MIRABELLI)
"Aunt Jemima, I love your syrup." --Doug Mirabelli, Red Sox catcher, That Touch of Pink, page 40