It may have been a slow crawl this past few weeks, but Jim Thome has finally joined the exclusive 600 home run club. The veteran slugger becomes just the eighth player in Major League Baseball history to have cleared the fences 600 times. Let’s take a look at the list.
600 Home Run Club
Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey, Jr. (630), Alex Rodriguez (626), Sammy Sosa (609) and Thome (600).
No. of Seasons Played by 600 HR Club Members:
Barry Bonds: 23
Hank Aaron: 23
Babe Ruth: 23
Willie Mays: 22
Ken Griffey, Jr.: 22
Alex Rodriguez: 18
Sammy Sosa: 18
Jim Thome: 21
Interesting how so many of the top sluggers played nearly the exact same number of seasons. Though tainted by steroids, Sammy Sosa’s numbers look pretty impressive nonetheless because of how few seasons he played. As for Thome, 2011 could be his final season. If so, the debate will really heat about whether or not Thome should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. I really can’t see how he wouldn’t get elected into Cooperstown. The home run numbers are just one piece of the puzzle. Thome should come close to or surpass 2,300 hits at the end of this season, and he’s a safe bet to drive in his 1,700th RBI. Throw in his career OPS of .960, his 23rd place ranking on career runs created, and all the playoff teams he starred on, it’s hard for me to envision a guy that’s also great with the media not getting his due in the Hall.
We’ll see. For now, a big congratulations to Thome on the incredible milestone.