He played for a division rival, took great pleasure in beating up on the neighbors from Minnesota, and spoke with the kind of drawl that could coax you into a nap even if you were standing up.

He grew up in a small town, loved hunting, wore his hair buzzed tight to his scalp, showed off the forearms of a steelworker and became a cameo star who burnished his Hall of Fame credentials while playing in downtown Minneapolis in the year in which he turned 40.

Yes, Brett Favre put on quite a show when he decided to cross the border.

So did Jim Thome.

Favre entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Thome will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. Both were no-doubt Hall of Famers before they arrived in Minnesota, and both provided a highlight reel of a season here while helping the local team to the playoffs.

What we learned about Favre was the seemingly apocryphal stories about him were not exaggerated. He could turn any news conference into a filibuster, could send veiled messages with every sentence.

We learned his football intellect was matched only by a right arm that turned his thoughts into instant action, and that he would willingly play on an ankle swollen to the size of a honeydew melon.

He was everything he was supposed to be, and so was Thome.

Thome grew up in the backwoods of Illinois and cut his teeth in Cleveland. He hit 52 homers in 2002, his 12th season with the Indians, before beginning his journeys. He played for the Phillies, then the White Sox, for whom he hit the home run that decided Game 163 against the Twins in Chicago in 2008.

Two seasons later, he was playing for the Twins, and proud enough of that swing to taunt Twins fans about it at one of his first public appearances in Minnesota.

Like Favre, Thome hid a card counter's shrewdness beneath his small-town Illinois accent, and like Favre, Thome brought the local franchise something it had been missing since the 1970s.

Favre took control of a powerhouse Vikings team the way Fran Tarkenton once did. Thome gave the Twins their first historic veteran power hitter since Harmon Killebrew.

Most great Twins hitters have been unable to write happy endings to their time in Minnesota. Tony Oliva blew out his knee. Rod Carew left. Kirby Puckett went blind. Kent Hrbek wore down. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau suffered injuries that altered the arcs of their careers.

Thome came to Minnesota and hit 25 home runs in 276 at-bats in the season in which he turned 40. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage of 1.039 was the fourth-best of his career. His two-run, 10th inning walkoff homer off White Sox standout lefthander Matt Thornton in August 2010 stands as the best moment in Target Field's otherwise numbing history.

Thome played through back problems without complaint, and became an on-site idol to the likes of Morneau and Mauer.

"We always talk when we're in town," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "I saw him in Chicago last month. We talked a lot about deer hunting — that was a big thing. He loves it like I do. He's like an honorary Mississippian, the way he loves to hunt and be outdoors."

Dozier lives in Hattiesburg, where Favre makes his home. Thome and Favre would probably enjoy spending time in the woods on Favre's estate, comparing scars, and telling stories that would last a very long time.

Jim Souhan's podcast can be heard at MNSPN.com. On Twitter: @SouhanStrib E-mail: jsouhan@startribune.com