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Jim Thome becomes eighth player in MLB history to reach 600 home runs

Aug 15, 2011, 9:07 PM EDT

Jim Thome Getty Images

UPDATE: Jim Thome has done it!

Thome just launched an opposite field three-run blast off left-hander Daniel Schlereth in the top of the seventh inning to reach the 600-home run plateau. The veteran slugger was greeted at home plate by his teammates and hugged his family on the field before returning to the dugout.

Thome has two home runs and five RBI tonight. This is his 48th career multi-home run game.

While his chase has largely flown under the radar, Thome is now in the same exclusive club with Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Pretty special.

9:00 PM: Jim Thome is on the brink of history.

Thome launched career homer No. 599 in the top of the sixth inning tonight against the Tigers. It was a two-run shot to left-center field off right-hander Rick Porcello which gave the Twins a 5-3 lead. It was his 10th home run of the season and traveled an estimated 412 feet.

Thome, 40, is now just one home run away from being just the eighth player in major league history to reach 600 home runs. Alex Rodriguez was the most recent player to reach the milestone last August.

He should get another chance to bat in the seventh or eighth inning, so stay tuned to see if he can get there.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    And number 600.

    • frankvzappa - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:03 AM

      Thank god he hit 599 and 600 in the same game, that way ESPN won’t be able to interrupt every program for a Thome at-bat for the next month like they did with Ass-Rod.

      • Phillies Homer - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:51 AM

        The only difference is people would have wanted to see Thome’s 600… not necessarily A-Rod’s

  2. tjwilliams - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    And there’s 600.

  3. sknut - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    congrats Mr. Thome on 600!

  4. Lukehart80 - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    My favorite Indians’ player ever. I know there were many turned off by his leaving, but I’ve continued to pull for Thome and am thrilled to see him hit this milestone.

    Awesome!

  5. elmaquino - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Makes him one of the baddest sluggers of all time. Hope he’s clean.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:29 PM

      If you don’t have any evidence to the contrary, why even say that? If you do, what is it?

    • The Common Man - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:12 PM

      @elmaquino

      Not cool dude. Hope you’re not so lame as to think it’s cool to speculate about guys who have never had a single question raised about their integrity.

    • elmaquino - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:12 AM

      I HOPE he did do it clean. I have no evidence to the contrary. But acting like 90s baseball was Candyland and Griffey Jr, Thome, Gwynn, Ripken, et cetera where all clean because they weren’t in the Mitchell Report or whatever is unrealistic at best.

      He isn’t guilty by association, but he can’t get a pass just because he’s a great guy or because nothing has come out yet. (Manny didn’t get caught for years.) I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been fooled enough. I’m cautiously happy for him, but by no means do I want to disrespect his career–provided it is legit.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        You have no evidence to the contrary, and yet you continue to qualify it with passive accusations. Nobody ever said anything about “Candyland.” You, on the other hand are spreading unfounded allegations about a guy who has never even been in the same file cabinet as the Mitchell Report.

        Hey, Craig, would making baseless and unfounded accusations on a blog be slander or have blogs been around enough for it to be libel?

      • elmaquino - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        Never SAID he did it, pinhead. I’m just not stupid enough to entirely rule it out.

    • paperlions - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:04 AM

      The fact is that we know that 1000s of players used during the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s used PEDs (indeed reports about PED use in baseball started surfacing in the 60s) and we have seen about 100 or so names, many of which were huge surprises when made public (pitchers, smaller players)…..according to most players willing to talk about it, PEDs were very common for over a decade and Thome played during that time. He is no more or less suspect than anyone else, but everyone from that era is suspect. Acting like a huge percentage of players weren’t using doesn’t make it not so…..everybody hopes their favorite players were clean.

  6. mvpolamalu - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Im wondering if this is the first time a player reached 3,000 hits and another player reached 600 homeruns in the same season

    • mrfloydpink - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:40 AM

      Second time. In 2007, Craig Biggio reached 3,000 hits and Sammy Sosa reached 60 HRs (they actually did it within 8 days of each other, on June 28 and June 20, respectively). Beyond that, the closest it has come to happening is when Mays hit HR 600 in 1969, Mays and Aaron both collected their 3000th hits in 1970, and then Aaron hit his 600th HR in 1971.

  7. kbigz81 - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Pride of Peoria!! Go Jim Thome. As a former Limestone High Alumni I couldn’t be anymore proud. Way to go Jimmy!

  8. redeemingphiladelphia - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Terrific milestone for a terrific guy. It was a shame his stay in Philly was so short, but I think I speak for most Philly fans when I say I am glad he was able to stick long enough to hit 600. Every HR from here on is gravy.

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:41 PM

      Amen. We were treated to No. 400 with Harry calling it. Thome comes across as a good guy who’s easy to cheer for. Way to go, Gentleman Jim.

  9. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    That’s awesome. At the end of last year I was hoping Thome would come back to reach this milestone. No steroids here, just raw power. Congrats to him

  10. stoutfiles - Aug 15, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Hope Sosa and Big Mac watch his future HoF speech. Clean hitters get honored for their accomplishments.

  11. bravesman1983 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    Kind of a funny moment: Just as ESPN2 cut away from the Braves/Giants matchup to show Thome’s at-bat for a potential No. 600 on Minnesota’s home television feed, color man Burt Blyleven was bemoaning the fact that everyone acted like Derek Jeter was the first person to ever collect his 3000th hit, while Thome’s 600th homer was going to end up being “ignored.”

    I don’t entirely disagree with the premise Burt’s rant, but his timing couldn’t have been much worse . . . considering his comments were unwittingly going out to a national audience.

    • bravesman1983 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:23 PM

      Then again, I suppose he may have known his comments were being picked up by a national feed and used the opportunity as a soapbox, so to speak.

    • youngyankee - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:55 PM

      burts got it all wrong, jeters just cooler than thome. nobody outside baseball really wants to know how jim spends his days. it’s gotta be like “Brady bunch” meets baseball as opposed to “entourage” meets baseball.

      ups to thome joining Aaron Ruth mays Griffey, some ridiculous company.

    • Bryz - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:56 PM

      It’s spelled Bert, and I don’t care about his timing. Honestly, he was right.

      • bravesman1983 - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:16 PM

        Thanks for the spelling lesson, professor. Can you spell douche?

      • hittfamily - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:06 AM

        I hate to get all professorial, but your comma was unnecessary.

      • Bryz - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:35 AM

        d-o-u-s- FUCK

        I guess not.

    • marshmallowsnake - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      As I was watching the homers on my PS3 MLB station, I was wondering who the commentator was that was trashing the Yankees and the celebration for Jeter, while Thome goes “unnoticed,” as he said.

      Bert has a point though. But I think it is just because people have been desensitized to the home run, because so many where hit in the last 10-15 years.

      Either way, congrats to Jim Thome! I wish he was less injured and more of a full time player later in his career, as we could have been welcoming him into the 700 club (no, not the Pat Robinson version).

      Hats off to a great career!

      • youngyankee - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:49 AM

        The press and celebration for Jeter vs Thome’s again has nothing to do with baseball. Both are phenomenal individual achievements, both show the ability to perform at a high level consistently for over 15 yrs.

        Jeter – single, bachelor in NY, plays for a huge market team and the most famous sports franchise.

        Thome – married w kids, small town guy, plays for a small market team.

        If I’m HBO or any other company and want to sell my product, I’m calling Jeter first, not Thome. I don’t think they really care about the actual accomplishment itself but more of the $$$ they could make by pretending like they do.

        People need to stop crying and bitching about the attention Jeter received. If they focused on something other than just bashing the Yanks or Jeter, then they would realize that it’s not personal, its just business.

        There aren’t flocks of young girls running to Jim Friggin Thome. There aren’t many young guys that want to grow up and be Jim Thome. He’s a fantastic ballplayer but he isn’t a big deal to anyone outside baseball, whereas Jeter has a celebrity status that reaches beyond the baseball diamond.

        Comparison: Let’s say Tom Brady passed a milestone, and Chris Johnson passed a milestone.

        The media would give much more press and attention to Tom Brady because you don’t have to watch or be a fan of football to know who Tom Brady is.

  12. The Baseball Gods - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Congrats to Jim Thome. It was an honor to watch him play in Philadelphia even though his stay was shorter than expected. I was there when he hit #400 on June 14th 2004 and I will never forget it.

  13. aceshigh11 - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    Still an awesome achievement. I wish it was still considered as big a deal as it once was, but Thome is a class act and deserves the accolades.

  14. royalsfaninfargo - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:47 PM

    I wander what the title of the HBO documentary will be named?

    • Utley's Hair - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      I don’t know, but I’ll bet the title makes reference to Beep Beep’s 300 hits, though.

      • Utley's Hair - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:15 PM

        —facepalm—

        Of course I meant 3000 hits there. Hey, Gator, how’s that edit function thing of yours going?

  15. Bryz - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:56 PM

    Interesting coincidence: Thome hit 2 opposite field home runs tonight. He also hit 2 opposite field home runs in 1 game when he passed Harmon Killebrew last season.

  16. kmgannon - Aug 15, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Congrats to Thome, my favorite Indians player of all time. Good guy and great hitter. As far as I’m concerned, he’s the 5th man in the 600 club, as I don’t recognize A-Rod, Bonds, or Sosa.

    One of the worst things about the steroid era is that we didn’t really get to appreciate the true greatness of players like Griffey or Thome, because they aged and their injuries/career arc resembled normal human beings rather than the cartoonish-looking steroid guys. Take away the other guys’ artificially-inflated stats and artificially-enhanced longevity, and then look at Thome’s numbers. A generational talent.

  17. The Common Man - Aug 15, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Congratulations, Jimbo, on your remarkable accomplishment. We’re all very excited for you.

  18. frankblank1 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Awesome! I was in Philly when he arrived, and it’s absolutely true: this amazing achievement couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

  19. Phillies Homer - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Most certainly one of the geniunely nice guys of baseball. This success couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy than Thome!

  20. jeffro33 - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    Congratulations to Jim Thome. A class act and solid player for a very long time…

    When looking up “players to credit for Phillies success in culture change”, put Jim Thome right up there with Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley….

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