Jim Thome's Baseball Hall of Fame mission has been accomplished. Now it's time for some sort of similar honor to take place in his hometown.

The slugger from Peoria was part of a six-man class inducted Sunday in Cooperstown. N.Y. His 612 home runs and 1,699 RBIs, not to mention not a hint of performance-enhancing scandal, ensured his enshrinement in the first year he was eligible.

It's an honor richly deserved, not just because of Thome's on-field accomplishments but also because of his reputation as one of the nicest guys in the game.

What hasn't been as nice, perhaps, is the apparent lack of attention given to establishing a permanent Thome attraction in the Peoria area.

Such an effort has been bandied now and then, officially and unofficially. Nothing ever has come of it.

Peoria need not look far to find a much-smaller place that has honored its connections to three Baseball Hall of Famers.

The Bottomley-Ruffing-Schalk Baseball Museum in Nokomis pays tribute to "Sunny" Jim Bottomley, Red Ruffing and Ray Schalk. All lived in or near Nokomis, a city of about 2,400 in Montgomery County, south of Springfield.

Granted, the museum is open only two days a week. But at least there is a museum, although three Hall of Famers from the same relatively small town certainly should warrant one.

(Ruffing, by the way, was born in the Putnam County community of Granville, located north of Peoria.)

Thome doesn't necessarily need a Peoria building unto himself. But we can think of a perfect place for an everlasting Thome exhibit: Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Precedent has been set. The museum already has permanent space dedicated to another honored and deserving son of Peoria, former Harlem Globetrotters basketball player Curley "Boo" Johnson. Display cases contain Johnson's old uniforms, basketballs and other memorabilia.

Johnson donated those items. Thome should have plenty of things from which to choose, should the need arise.

Thome also has accumulated fans all over the Midwest, thanks to his long associations with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox. For a city looking to capitalize on tourism, a Thome shrine should be a no-brainer.

In truth, so should be some brick-and-mortar commemoration of the legions of Peorians who have made national and international marks in their fields — feminist/author Betty Friedan, politician Bob Michel and comedian/actor Richard Pryor being but a sample.

A long journey begins with one step. That path can start with Thome.

About five years ago, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis was asked what he thought regarding an appropriate municipal honor for his Christian-name compatriot. Ardis appeared bullish.

“He’s a slam-dunk Hall of Fame player," the mayor said. "Something will be done to honor him in Peoria. Absolutely, when the time is right.”

The time never has been more right than it is right now.

Nick Vlahos writes “Nick in the Morning.” He can be reached at nvlahos@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @VlahosNick.