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Hurray for Thome!

August 15th, 2011 · No Comments · Baseball, Dodgers, Drugs

Jim Thome hit two home runs in Detroit tonight to reach 600 in his career. He is only the eighth guy to reach six bills in homers.

And this pleases me on a couple of levels.

First, here is the story from the Twins-Detroit game in which Thome reached the 6C threshold.

Back to why this is good.

Jim Thome is a great guy. Not may great guys populate professional sports, especially in baseball, home to the prickliest athletes in American sports. And most great guys in baseball are the peripheral players, the ones who realize early that their careers will not last long and who remain rather like civilians and share many of the basic civilities of regular folk.

Thome had a brief stint with the Dodgers, at the end of the 2009 season, when they were headed for rhe playoffs (yes, hard to imagine, the Dodgers and the playoffs). He was nicked up, and because he can’t play in the field anymore he played very little. He appeared only as a pinch hitter and managed four singles in 17 at-bats. He impressed everyone in the organization, however, with his people skills. A fun guy, one you like having around, always upbeat.

People continue to talk about what a great human being he is, including Tim Kurkjian in this piece. In it, Joe Nathan says that he remembers looking across the field at Thome and thinking, “‘He can’t be that nice,’ but he is.” Matt Capps, another Twins reliever, is quoted as saying, “I’ve been to dinner with him, and people come to our table, and he takes time to say hi to a kid. I’ve seen guys with six months in the big leagues snub a kid in a restaurant. Not Jim, and he is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”

The second reason why I’m glad Jim Thome reached 600 homers is that he played through the Steroids Era without a taint of suspicion that he was ‘roiding up.

Thome has the physique of the old-time sluggers — well, and the modern-day sluggers, too.

Big and bulky.

I like my sluggers big and bulky. “Ruthian.” Or, of late, Fielder-ian, or “Howard-esque.”


Thome looks and plays like sluggers did before the scourge of drugs. The men who could put the ball in the seats were not svelte. They were not whippets. They never had the chiseled freakish look of Bonds/Sosa/Kingman in their “primes.”

Thome was more like Harmon Killebrew or Babe Ruth — a guy who appeared to be a little overweight, who was never nimble, but a guy with great hand-eye coordination and enormous strength.

Guys like that don’t need to cheat to hit home runs. I like to see them succeed. To get the big strong kids to think about baseball, and to dilute the influence of the steroid-puffed guys in the 600 Club, which includes Bonds and Sosa and Alex Rodriguez.

Congrats, Jim Thome. We’ll see you in Cooperstown in 2016.


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