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Donovan McNabb Says Jim Thome Had a Rough Time Dealing with Philly Fans

Jul 24, 2013, 4:45 PM EDT


In an interview with Paul Domowitch that’s set to run in full inside Thursday’s edition of the Daily News, Donovan McNabb touches on a number of topics related to his Eagles career – his opinion of Philly fans, whether or not he’ll be booed at his retirement ceremony at the Linc this September, and some insight into how the trade to Washington went down between he and Andy Reid behind the scenes. To be honest, there’s not much you would consider very revealing from Domo’s excerpts, and a lot of it sounds like some variation of the PR-like responses McNabb normally sticks to.

There was one random but curious detail in there though, and it’s about Jim Thome of all people. According to McNabb’s anecdote, he once shared an exchange with Thome in which the former Phillies first baseman apparently admitted it wasn’t always easy dealing with the fans in Philadelphia. Here’s what he said.

Q: Any concerns that you might hear some boos when they honor you in September?

“I’ve always heard that they appreciate you (more) when you’re gone. It’s funny. Flying out here, I stopped in Chicago to visit my family. I ran into (former Phillie) Jim Thome in the airport. We were talking about playing in Philly. He asked me how I dealt with it because he said it was really hard for him. I said I just let it run right down my back. I never let it bother me. I told him I loved the game too much to let it affect what I was doing. All the time I put in preparing, I didn’t let it bother me.”

It seems strange Thome would say that. The man spent three seasons with the Phils from 2003 through ’05, and it was so bad for him that he… signed on for a second stint in 2012. In fact, during his first two seasons here, the fans probably bordered on hero worship of Thome. He had left Cleveland, where he played the first 12 years of his Major League career, to come to Philadelphia as a free agent and help jump start the resurrection of a moribund franchise. He then proceeded to lead the NL in home runs and runs batted in during his first season in red pinstripes, going on to bash 89 and drive in 326 runs total over the first two years of his deal.

Things did take a slight turn in Thome’s third season with the Fightins. He battled injuries and was inconsistent at the plate, plus Ryan Howard was just arriving on to the scene, so there may have been some boos or negativity directed toward Thome at the time. Still, he only appeared in 59 games in ’05 before landing on the shelf permanently, and he was traded to the Chicago White Sox soon into the offseason. He would not have endured anything close to what Donovan did.

There are few athletes in any sport who are as universally beloved as Thome, and while we can’t speak for anybody else, it seems unlikely it ever got so bad for him in Philly in such a short amount of time that he would have carried it around with him for very long. That’s not to say he wouldn’t have mentioned ’05 was difficult at times when he was playing hurt and probably never experienced a home crowd turning on him before, but to the point where he could relate to McNabb? Probably not the greatest example.

Maybe somebody out there remembers Thome’s first run in Philly differently than I do, but I definitely recall his being welcomed back with open arms last year, not to mention how excited he was to return. Doesn’t seem like a guy who would share quite the same recollection of Philly fans as the Eagles’ quarterback of 11 seasons.

>> McNabb on McNabb [DN]

UPDATE: Roob ripped into McNabb on PST this evening:

  1. Matt M - Jul 24, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I think that quote from McNabb is completely false. There’s no way Thome would feel that way, especially when he received a standing ovation whenever he came back here.

    • Corey - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      Mcnabb and thome are two completely different character players. Thome has been very wel liked by many fans for over 20 years. And will be hall of fame 1st or 2nd year on the ballet. Mcnabb barely played 10 full seasons, will probably never get the chance to go to the hall.

  2. thekrisheim - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    the only people in the philadelphia sports community with bigger “persecution complexes” and quick defensive triggers than any of the athletes are the journalists who cover the eagles and flyers. roob is great, but give me a break with the “move on,” but i’m gonna yell like a 8 year old about him for 2 more minutes.

    i’ll be standing for mcnabb in september and if you dont, you need your head examined.

    • willh888 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:45 AM

      if you don’t stand and applaud the guy, you’re probably a grade A fraud. well said

  3. jim - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    This is complete bs. I was good friends with Jims brother in law Nick during his time in Philly and Jim loved the fans. McNabb is a waste just looking to bring beloved Philly icons into the mess he has created.

    • nahroots - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      JESUS CHRIST. This is Philly media and journalism at it’ WORST. The sheer brutal irony of these hacks who will take ANY quote, action, tweet, interview and immediately find ways to spin it to make McNabb look like some sort of villain. And HE’S the one with the complex?

      He’s the best quarter back we ever had. Oh, and we booed him seconds after drafting him and haven’t one a playoff game since we traded him to the skins in favor of…Kolb. He lasted, what, maybe 3 quarters before being shelved permanently? Help me out, Kulp. Maybe it was just 2.

      He didn’t win us the SB. GET.OVER.IT.

      • steve pilacik - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        Best is a very large word to use for a quarterback who piled up records but no championship! Only one did that Mr. Norman Van Brocklin.

      • Andrew Kulp - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM

        I wasn’t “taking a shot” at McNabb, I just thought it was a curious anecdote about Thome, a fan favorite who didn’t hear many boos.

      • Johnson - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        Mcnabb and reid are the main reasons this team is even relevant. If they had drafted one of the otther hacks in that draft there is a good chance that this team is dwelling in the basement with sixers in the pantheon of philly sports today. Grow up.

        and by your standards, I guess dan marino is worthless because he neber won the big one…Oh and theres a guy named brian dawkins who never won us a trophy, I guess we should just spit on his legacy too.

      • JimM. - Jul 25, 2013 at 1:11 AM

        Fuckin’ A Johnson. While we’re at it lets shit on Reggie, Jerome, Seth Joy., and all those other “bums” for not winning Philly a title.

      • Rav51 - Feb 12, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        I respect 5 as a Player, the problem lies when they put a mic in front of him. he needs to let things go and move from the City. He was never much after he left ( Skins- Vikes) so was he a system QB? Reid seemed to think so that’s why he traded him within the Division.

        Everyone move on Foles is the answer!! In Chip we Trust.

  4. phillysports - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    You can almost hear Rich Hoffman thinking “What the hell are you blabbing about?” during Roob’s little hissy fit.

  5. Atomic Fury - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    Methinks D-Mac may have taken too many shots to the head. He may have THOUGHT he was talking with Jim Thome when instead he may have been talking to J.D. Drew.

    • docdeath20 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Hey it’s docdeath20 got booted from Comcast site for sticking up for my self now I can’t post yet people like remogaghi etc can and all they do is insult people anyway this article is crap Thome was adored here

  6. philly sports suck - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    hey nas rotts and kris mcnabb is a piece of garbage and you guys are a piece of garbage van brocklin is the best eagles qb ever not mcnabb you morons philly sports suck

    • coach 351 - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Van Brocklin only played 3 years with the Eagles going 19-16-1 . He was great in 1960 when the Eagles won the title but he had his career with the Rams. This doesn’t make him the Eagles best ever

  7. philly sports suck - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    i quit being you dumbass eagles fans who always root for these bums who never win super bowls and that stpuid god damn eagles chant and the stpuid fight song it sucks you guys are sheeps and suckers always rooting for a bums who never win super bowls nfl sucks nba sucks nhl sucks mlb sucks and team sports fans are sheeps and suckers paying the players their who don’t care if they lose a game or not cause their rich and they all hate fans yet you morons keep paying the players salary why cause you idiots ufc rules and ever other sports suck

    • Hiccup - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      We need to stop cutting the city’s school funding.

    • Ig-88 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      UFC is wack. bunch of muscle heads throwing haymakers until it comes down to a couple of near-naked homos humping on the ground till one gives up. oh cool, a sport based mainly on giving up. team sports use strategy and planning in addition to athleticism.

  8. Susquehanna80 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    McNabb is Such a G-D Loser.. gawd!! Donovan, just Go Away you little egotistcal man-child

    • willh888 - Jul 25, 2013 at 2:47 AM

      One of the worst pawned Angelo opinions alive today

  9. steve pilacik - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    If McNabb gets booed maybe he asked for it. Does not understand the word GRACIOUS. Remember his rants on ESPN on how the Redskins misused him. Ego ahead of reality.

  10. BenE. - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    McNabb is the archetype of the struggling black man in America.

    Just kidding, not even gonna touch all the 5-bashing this time. I’ll just cheer for him in September.

  11. Hiccup - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    We need to get big Jim’s take on this chance encounter at the airport. One of the two is delusional or Thome was feeling sorry for Mcnabb and was trying to relate on a personnal level with a player that is both loved and vilified by the Philly fan base.

  12. Mike - Jul 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    I was always a big McNabb fan and have his name on my 2nd Eagles jersey (Reggie White 92 for the 1st). But come on, be quiet Donovan. If I were his publicist, I would advise him to never bring up the draft booing incident. Never refer to yourself in the 3rd person. Stop whining. Never quote another athlete who you had a private conversation with. Try to go through therapy sessions in private which rids you of all your self pitying victim syndrome. What you need to do is try to just have some fun with the whole celebrity golf thing….refer to the owner of your former team as Mr. Lury. Try to be more sincere. You are totally not funny so lose the poor attempt at comedy. Find yourself and be yourself.

  13. nobody - Jul 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Thome got booed when he went back to Cleveland with the White Sox. Phillies fans worship him and gave him a standing O when he came back.

    • Simmonds17 - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      4 or 5 years after Thome was traded to Chicago, he came back to Philadelphia with the Twins and hit a big 9th inning homer to help beat the Phillies. I gave him a standing O AFTER the home run and I had plenty of company.

      I’m sure 2005 was no treat – this was a different town then – some people forget how negative and cynical attitudes toward the Phillies were before the 2007-2011 run. I remember hearing the usual stuff about how Thome didn’t hit in the clutch, et al. Par for the course here or in most passionate sports towns.

      But by and large, for a guy who played here 3 and a half years and was not on a winner, Thome was treated extremely well here.

      McNabb does need to pipe down but now that he’s a member of the media, no such chance. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere his retirement ceremony – lose/lose for all involved.

  14. peter alessandrini - Jul 25, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Yes Donovan did have a chip on his sholder, but who could blame him, the day he gets drifted he gets bood. I have been an EAGLES fan all my life and I can tell you this some of the fans here in Philly should just say home I think they just go to games to get drunk and boo. I have NEVER booed any player, why would I, they want the same thing i want to win, you think they go out there and say let me see i want to fail so I can get booed. In the same respect IT THE SAME ALL OVER. Players get booed why because the make a ton of money and the people in the stands DON’T, and people get pissed off. I love all my sports teams, but I HATE the fan base in this city just because of all the booing, it not as bad as it once was but it still happens. Look if you see a player not hustling yea boo his ass off, but just to go out and get piss drunk and boo, that is not a fan, they need to stay away from the game. Also just as as a side not Doovan McNabb was the BEST queterback this city ever had, as far as not getting a Super Bowl, it takes a team to win not just one player.

    • BenE. - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:34 AM

      This might be the most I’ve ever agreed with a 5th grader.

      • laars - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:50 PM

        5th graders can usually spell better than that but his thoughts are good.

    • 33 - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      Every year, I watch the draft. Every year, picks get booed by both their new fans and their new opposing fans. I’ve never seen one booing get dragged out as often as this one.

      It was dumb for the irrepresentative Dirty 30 to boo him then, and thankfully that group is a just a memory now so we won’t have them at the game this year when he should get a standing O.

  15. heeto - Jul 25, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    Maybe Jim was talking about how hard it was it general in Philly and Donovan is doing his trademark passive-aggressive thing. That would be my guess.

  16. Steve - Jul 25, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    I’m sure that Thome is thrilled with being involuntarily dragged into this.

  17. Kdawg - Jul 25, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    OMG….. McNabb is honestly the biggest baby in the history of sports. He has the thinnest skin of any athlete I’ve ever seen and for him to say he let it roll right off his back is a complete and total lie. He spent his whole career with a chip on his shoulder from draft day. Fans went there to see Ricky Williams get drafted and when they didn’t hear hisname they booed. McNabb happened to be the man on stage while they were booing. What he doesnt understand about that , I have no idea. And he thinks he was singled out in this city. Ummm this city isnt tough, you play hard or good and we cheer, you play bad we boo. It don’t matter if your black, white, blue , or green, has nothing to do with race, has nothing to do with anything besides your performance. He always said he was the leader of the team, well f******** act like a leader then. He said the team lost the “team” after the 04′ season, well who was the leader? HE WAS. So they lost the “team atmosphere” he says on his watch! When he was the supposed leader! I can’t stand this f******** guy. Great career, but total jackass who should stop running his mouth all the time.

    • docdeath20 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

      Great post

  18. Donkeylips - Jul 25, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    It’d be a hell of a lot easier to stand up and applaud McNabb if he’d just SHUT HIS DAMN MOUTH. He brings all of the hate down on himself with his incessant passive aggressive jabs at Philly and its fans. Hey 5, get off your cross and shut the hell up and you’ll be a hero in time. See: Eric Lindros, Mike Schmidt, Charles Barkley

    Also, Cunningham was better.

    • docdeath20 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Barkley was and still is a scumbag spitting on people especially a child isn’t somebody I cheered for.

  19. mcscabb05 - Jul 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Didn’t let it bother him??? HAHAHAHAHA, he brought it up, and still does, every chance he got !.. LYING LOSER !!!! ah hahahahahaha… Booooooooooo


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