The Phillies wear suits to honor Rob Thomson’s father

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There’s a nice backstory in the photo Bryce Harper posted on Instagram on Sunday night.

He caught interim Phillies manager Rob Thomson and his players standing in front of the team’s plane in Washington, DC just minutes before leaving for Dallas-Ft. Worth. Everyone is dressed in a jacket and tie, except Thomson, who is dressed in a jacket, tie and fedora. He stands in the middle. He is smiling. His arms are outstretched.

Harper captioned it: “FATHER’S DAY PARTIES! #SHE SAID”

“This really moved me,” said Thomson.

You see, Thomson wears a suit and tie on every trip, even though the big league dress codes have loosened considerably over the years.

“It’s a tribute to my father,” Thomson said.

More than a few Phillies players know this. Because everyone has so much affection for Thomson, they decided to surprise him and wear suits and ties for the Texas Father’s Day flight.

“Thomps is the top professional,” said Phillies right-footed Aaron Nola. “It turned out to be great. He looks great with his hat and arms outstretched. He had no idea. Someone said he came out and asked why they all looked so cute.

Thomson has mentioned his father Jack Thomson a few times since he became an interim manager. He had a huge influence on his son, offering advice, guidance and little sayings here and there that Thomson remembers and still recites.

“My dad said life is walking through a forest,” Thomson said a couple of weeks ago. “You have a basket. All trees are people and you are just taking a leaf from all these different trees and putting them in there. And in the end, that’s who you are. “

Jack ran a construction company in Corunna, Ontario. He worked hard. He also loved baseball, which he passed on to his children.

Jack Thomson took Rob to his first big league game at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. Thomson, 58, reckons he must have been 8 or 9, which means it could have been 1972 or 1973. Those teams had Tigers legends like Al Kaline, Bill Freehan and Mickey Lolich.

After the game, Jack and Rob Thomson walked past the Tigers parking lot.

Each player left the stadium in a suit and tie.

“Rob, this is what a big league baseball player looks like,” said Jack Thomson.

Jack Thomson died in 1998, shortly after Thomson was appointed field coordinator for the Yankees Minor League. Thomson was with his brothers the night their dad died. They shared stories about him.

Rob told that of their day together at the old Tiger Stadium.

“If you ever get to the big leagues, you have to wear a suit,” his brothers told him.

Thomson made it to the major championships in 2008 as a member of Joe Girardi’s Yankees staff. The Yankees always wore suits on road trips, so he joked that it was easy to pay homage to his father back then. But even as dress codes relaxed, Thomson never wavered.

At times Thomson seemed to be the only one to board a team charter in a suit and tie.

But then that’s how Jack thought he was a big leaguer.

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