A major milestone occurred yesterday in Major League Baseball.

Six Hundred Home Runs were hit by Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins. He became just the 8th player to reach this significant milestone, although most now on this list have done it very recently. Even with that said, the list of folks in front of him as members of the 600 club is quite impressive.

Aaron, Ruth, Mays, A-Rod, Sosa, Bonds, and Griffey.

A couple off of this list are considered the best to ever play the game regardless of what era you are talking about in the history of baseball – Yet others have the tainted cloud of steroid use hanging over them.

I think it is safe to say that NEVER has a player who has hit 600 homers done so with so little fanfare or media attention. Thome played the most years in Cleveland, where he played 12 seasons. Since then he has had brief stops in Philadelphia, Chicago with the White Sox, Los Angeles with the Dodgers and now in Minnesota.

Thome has been consistent only hitting over 50 homers one time (he hit 52 blasts in 2002) , but having many years in the mid 30 to mid-40 home run totals. When you do this for a span of 20 years, do the math….you basically get to 600.

Most power hitters by their nature have a short shelf life in the majors. Swings get slower with age, younger players are always showing up to push you out. Many times the media attention that comes with being a slugger in the bigs is the same media coverage that starts to throw a player under the bus when they get into the twilight of their careers – and the production numbers start to wane.

After all, chicks dig the long ball…..

But Thome has seemingly escaped much of this. A popular player – but not necessarily a household name outside of the venues he has played in. He appears to be fairly quiet and un-assuming. Most casual observers would have no idea that he is a career .277 hitter (better than most big time power sluggers to be certain)

A lot of debate will happen over the upcoming weeks as to his all-time status in the game. Before the McGwire, Palmeiro and Sosa debacle of Performance Enhancing drugs, 500 Home Runs Pretty much got you into the Hall of Fame. 600 dingers I would think would make you a lock, yet questions abound on a variety of on-line sports sites as to if Thome deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Since I am not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of American no one really cares about my vote. With that said, I will take the quiet 600 Home Run guy who seems to be a throwback type of player any day of the week.

Congratulations Jim Thome

Until Next time,

Stay Classy Peoria, Illinois

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Johnny Goodman writes a weekly sports column for The Soap Boxers. His articles can be found in The Goodman File.

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