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Jim Thome, All-Time Good?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:23 PM

Jim Thome is about to join one of the most exclusive clubs in the annals of baseball history. After blasting home run number 596, which oh-by-the-way travelled 490 feet, Thome is nearing the 600 home run plateau. When he accomplishes it, he'll become only the eighth player in Major League history to do so.

Embed highlight of his blast from Sunday

And take a look at the seven other guys he'll join:

Alex Rodriguez

Sammy Sosa

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Willie Mays

Babe Ruth

Hank Aaron

Barry Bonds

That's pretty good company to find yourself in. Career stats such as this one are among the most hallowed in all of sports because they speak to consistent production over a long period of time. If a person ranks near the top of any category from a career standpoint, that person is usually thought of as one of the best who ever played.

Thome's is an interesting case, simply because he did a lot of that damage without much fanfare. He didn't have the legendary personality of Ruth. He didn't play the kind of all-around baseball that guys like Mays, Griffey, and Bonds did. Aside from the six years he played in Philadelphia and Chicago, he spent most of his career in smaller markets. In short, Thome is approaching 600 home runs without ever being considered one of the best players in baseball. How absurd is that?

The numbers reflect that opinion. Consider this: in his 21 either full or partial big league seasons, Thome has led the league in home runs (are you ready for this?) once. One time? That must be a misprint. He has hit more home runs than every guy in the history of the game except for seven, and he's led the league just once? Ok, maybe I can accept that. Surely a guy who blasts that many home runs must have been a perennial All-Star? Try just five times in 21 seasons. RBI's? Never led the league. MVP's? Finished in the top five just once when he finished fourth in 2003.

Though, you can't deny Jim Thome's consistency. Hitting 600 home runs is an accomplishment that no one can take away from him. It's also one that could, and probably should, land him in the Hall of Fame. Only time will tell if that comes to fruition. For now, we'll simply say congratulations to the big fella, and hope he can make a run at 700.

Congrats, Mr. Thome.

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