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CLEVELAND -- Jim Thomes point-the-bat hitting stance, a powerful symbol of the most successful era in Cleveland Indians history, is now a permanent fixture at Progressive Field. The Indians honoured their career leader in home runs on Saturday by unveiling a statue of Thome -- his bat pointed menacingly at the pitcher -- to rest in the ballparks centre field monument area. An emotional Thome, who played for Cleveland from 1991-2002 and again in 2011, said he signed an honorary one-day contract with the team so he could retire as a member of the Indians. "It feels so good to be home again, in this ballpark, where it all began," Thome said as voice cracked several times. "It gives me goose-bumps." Thomes statue is just the second erected by the club, joining one for Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller. Thome will certainly join Feller in Cooperstown one day. Thome, who last played in 2012 for Baltimore, hit 337 homers for Cleveland. With him in the lineup, the Indians won six AL Central titles, advanced to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 and played in front of 455 consecutive sellout crowds. "I look at that statue and I think of our teams in the 90s," he said. "There are so many guys from those teams who could have a statue." While there was some debate whether Thome, who left Cleveland after the 02 season to sign with Philadelphia, deserved a statue, theres no denying his legacy with the Indians. "I want to thank the fans," he said. "Ill never forget the atmosphere you guys created here every night." Thome signed his one-day contract on the field before the game and was given a long standing ovation by the crowd. He threw out the first pitch to former teammate Sandy Alomar Jr., the Indians first-base coach. Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, currently on the 60-day disabled list with a knee injury, temporarily gave up his No. 25 to honour Thomes one-day contract. Giambi will assume his number again when hes activated. Thome had a most unique stance. He would point his bat toward the pitcher to get ready, then pull it back and prepare to swing. And that swing usually resulted in good things for the Indians. "Theres an old saying in baseball," said Mike Hargrove, who managed Thome for nine seasons in Cleveland. "Good players can make a manager, a general manager and a hitting coach look real smart. Jimmy did his part." Thome developed an especially close relationship with Charlie Manuel, who was his hitting coach and later his manager with the Indians. "Hes like my son, in a way," Manuel said. "Cleveland got better when Jim Thome came to town." The left-handed slugger also had a flair for the dramatic. He hit the longest home run in ballpark history, a 511-foot blast on July 3, 1999, against the Kansas City that landed close to where his statue stands. The Indians have put up a plaque nearby to honour the homer. And in a moment straight out of a movie, Thome homered following a pregame ceremony in which the Indians announced they were building his statue on Sept. 23, 2011. Thome belted 52 home runs in 2002, the club record for a season. In 2001 he hit 49 homers -- the most by a left-handed hitter in club history -- and drove in 124 runs, both career highs. Several of Thomes former teammates were in attendance this weekend, including Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga and Travis Hafner. John Hart, who built the Indians team in the 90s as general manager, was also on hand as well as several members of Thomes family. Wholesale Jerseys From China .Y. -- The New York Islanders were merely content with a lopsided victory. Cheap NFL Jerseys China . The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open. http://www.cheapjerseyssupplychina.com/ . - Justin Turner is at his best with runners in scoring position, and he delivered again in a big spot for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys . PETERSBURG, Fla. Cheap Jerseys Online . On the day after Billy Horschel posted his 12th straight round in the 60s, won his second straight tournament against a world-class field and picked up an additional $10 million bonus as the FedEx Cup champion, Watson was kicking back in his seat at a Kansas City Royals game.Former Leicester captain Matt Elliott has praised the professional approach of the current team as they close in on their first ever Premier League title success. The Foxes are seven points clear at the top of the table with just six games remaining.Claudio Ranieris side have away matches against Sunderland, Manchester United and Chelsea remaining, while West Ham, Swansea and Everton all have to visit Leicester. And with excitement building around Leicester, Elliott reckons Ranieri and his players are impressively calm.Elliott told Sky Sports News HQ: I think the players are OK, they are the only ones who seem to be keeping a cool head in and around the city of Leicester. Supporters understandably are getting carried away, some a little bit too much, but you cant blame them for that.Claudio Ranieri is trying to keep a lid on things, rightly so, and so far the players are managing to do that.Elliott played 245 games in the Foxes defence between 1997 and 2005, and he believes the current back-five have been crucial in the teams unexpected rise to the top of the table.And Leicesters ability to grind out results in the manner Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have all managed in recent years has convinced the 47-year-old his old club will be crowned champions. Matt Elliott spent eight years at Leicester Elliott said: Not so long ago Chelsea were credited for opening the scoring, sitting on that lead and shutting the game out, and Leicester have pretty much done the same over the last half-dozen games, five of them have been 1-0 victories.Theyve conceded six goals in 14 games, and the way theyve turned things round, not just this season, but the back end of last season as well is miraculous. They are looking good.I watch them every week home and away, and I get a good understanding of how the players are, and they have been mightily impressive. I do expect them to go and see it through, but a lot of hard work is to be done.Elliott is an admirer of the central defensive partnership between Robert Huth and Jamaica international Wes Morgan. Leicester defenders Robert Huth (left) and Wes Morgan Morgan scored the only goal of the game against Southampton at the weekend, but Elliott believes the discipline of the duo has inspired others in the team.ddddddddddddlliott said: He is just one of a number, but he does typify everything that is good about Leicester City. What a lot of people dont realise is Wes went through the whole summer without a break.He had two international breaks, not just one, for Jamaica and had literally a weeks break. Tottenham can still catch Leicester, according to Ledley King Hes come through it, played every game and been immense at the back alongside Robert Huth and the rest of the back four. Hes getting all the attention at the moment for scoring the winner at the weekend. Its his turn, other players will have their turn as well, its a collective effort from Leicester.The stats are there, clean sheets, theyre helping and assisting with those alongside the whole team, they defend very well as a complete unit, but those two have been steadfast. Defending balls in the box they are as good as any in the Premier League.A lot of people were a little bit sceptical, would they be able to work as a partnership? But theyve certainly proved any doubters wrong. Get Sky Sports Join us and watch the race for the Premier League live on Sky Sports. Fast and easy online upgrade ' ' '

2019-02-23 05:14:06
   
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