Former Cleveland Indians slugger Jim Thome hit HR number 610 last night against Derek Blowe to pass Sammy "CorkBat" Sosa, knocking the juicer out of the top seven all time in homers.
The fourth inning shot against his former team was his 610th tater in his 22 year career, ranking him seventh all time. He enters rarified air, with the likes of Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), A-Rod (643), and Ken Griffey Jr (630). Those who want to put an asterisk for those "believed to be" juicers would rank him fifth all time, excluding Baroid and A-Roid.
The 41 year old has six homers on the year, this was his first since joining the Baltimore Orioles on July 1st. Thome spent 13 seasons with the Wahoos, including 22 games last year. He remains the all time home run leader for the Tribe, with 337 (a record in no jeopardy of falling anytime soon). His one run tater last night was his 189th at Regressive Field.
It's hard to describe Thome without diving into his stats. Starting out with the Indians, his first home run came on October 4th, 1991 in Yankee Stadium against former (and future) Tribesman Steve "How" Farr. He clocked 334 in his first stint with the Tribe from 1991 to 2002. He added three more last year. He has 509 taters in the AL, 101 in the NL. Despite a downturn in stats brought about by old age, he maintains a career OPS+ of .958
It was also his 20th home run AGAINST Cleveland, his favorite Tribe victim? Jake Westbrook. He's hit 40 or more 6 times, his best year was 2002 when he hit 52 (five less than A-Roid). He has hit homers against 30 different major league opponents, including 66 against Detroit. He has nine on Rick Reed, eight on Roidger Clemens, and seven on Justin Verlander. 274 of them were with runners on. 92 with a 0-0 count, 85 with a 3-2 count.
Not only a prolific hitter, he has a heart bigger than his swing. He is putting all ten of his nieces through college. He does a lot of work for charity. And in 2007 was voted the second nicest guy in the Major Leagues (to Mike Sweeney). All this despite playing four years for Ozzie Guillen.
What else is there to say? Cleveland has a statue and Cooperstown has a bust shined up and ready to display as soon as he hangs up his bat. Some say he's embarrassing himself still going out there and hitting in the .250 neighborhood. His days with a fielding glove seemingly over. But some of us forty-something PaPaws say "You go guy!!!"
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