Thome or not Thome, that is the question. And that was a bad joke and a stupid question.
Jim Thome hit home runs #599 and #600 last night against Detroit joining one of the most exclusive clubs in sports, the 600 home run club. Who else occupies that impressive group? Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa.
8 guys. Jim Thome is 1 of 8 guys EVER to hit that many HR. Over 17,000 people have played in the Majors, and only 8 have hit 600 home runs. I think you are pretty famous if you on a list that small.
Jim Thome has 48 multiple home run games after last night.
Only 6 players have hit more than 47 HR in 3 straight seasons. Jim Thome had 49-52-47 in 2001-2003.
The man has a .403 lifetime on-base percentage, 25th all-time for players with 7,500 plate appearances, higher than DiMaggio, higher than Wagner, higher than Mays or Yaz or Rose or Ichiro. Many people will never respect on-base percentage the way they should, because many people just don’t like walks. But walking is an art. And Thome is the artist. His power struck fear into pitchers, and he was happy to simply walk to first if they wouldn’t give him something to hit. He is 8th all-time in walks.
Anyway, his on-base percentage is not all the 1,700-plus walks he’s earned. He’s a .277 lifetime hitter, which doesn’t sound great, but it’s better than many of the other big home run hitters — Ernie Banks, Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Matthews, Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew among them. Heck, Thome hit .300 three different times. He, of course, has struck out more often than any player except Reggie Jackson, but people don’t seem to hold that over Mr. October’s head.
Thome didn’t play with the spotlight on him as much as others on the list, and admittedly had far less attention paid to him than many other more famous, but less significant players during his era, but Thome was awesome. You don’t stick around this long and accomplish this much. Thome played for some great teams that just never quite got over the top. That happens in team sports. It shouldn’t take away from the man. And this man was one of the baddest home run hitters the sport of baseball has ever seen and should be recognized as such.
Again, because it bears repeating. Over 17,000 players in MLB history, only 8 with 600 HR. Type that into a calculator and see what it spits out.