COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Former Phillies slugger Jim Thome was known for hitting home runs in the middle of a batting order, but his daughter Lila Grace will be in the leadoff position at Sunday's National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The 15-year-old will begin the festivities by singing the national anthem, a task she has handled brilliantly a couple of times at Citizens Bank Park in recent years.
"Very special," Thome said Saturday on the eve of his Hall of Fame induction. "I think she has worked really hard to get an opportunity like this. It's a great honor. My daughter doesn't play sports and she has been in the theater for the last six or seven years, so what an incredible moment to be on this stage and get to do this."
Father Thome is more nervous for his daughter than himself, but he is anticipating a home run from Lila Grace.
"You wait," he said. "I'm a little biased, because I'm her father, but her voice is just breathtakingly beautiful."