Tonight Jim Thome hit home run No. 599 and No. 600 of his career.
He is the eighth Player in the entire History of Major League Baseball to do so.
After what was one of the least chronicled chases to 600 Home Runs in the history of Major League Baseball, the debate will spark up as to whether or not Jim Thome belongs in Cooperstown.
Because Thome was the eighth player to join the 600 Home Run Club, I chose to give eight reasons as to why Thome belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Yes, Thome strikes out a great deal.
He takes colossal cuts, and therefore has many colossal whiffs, but for a guy ranked second in career strikeouts behind Mr. October (who is also a Hall of Famer) he is also ranked ninth in career walks. At least he made up for his many strikeouts by walking just about the same amount.
40.4 percent of Jim Thome's at bats resulted in him getting on base.
That's a pretty remarkable feat in itself. Only 42 players in Major League Baseball history have recorded a .400 OBP, 26 of which have been elected into Cooperstown.
Jim Thome is tied for the Major League Baseball record with 12 walk off home runs.
He's tied with Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Frank Robinson, Stan Musial and Jimmy Foxx. I'd say that's a pretty impressive group. He's also hit 17 postseason home runs, averaging about one in every four postseason games. Even Thome's 500th Career Home Run was a walk off!
Thome has been a model of consistency throughout his career.
In a 21 year career, including this season, he has hit more than 25 home runs in 13 seasons and hit 30 or more home runs in nine straight seasons. Even into his later years Thome has hit a great deal of home runs, even with a significant drop in his at bats.
Unlike Bonds, Sosa, or even possibly A-Rod, Thome's Home Run totals have never had a truly significant (and possibly steroid involving) drop.
I've heard arguments that Thome shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame because he never won an MVP.
Although this argument has its factual basis—Thome has never won an MVP award—Thome has received MVP votes in nine different seasons, and has finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting on four separate occasions.
Sure many players in the Hall of Fame have won MVP awards, but there are also many players in Cooperstown who never won an MVP. However, I wonder how many MVP award winners have received MVP votes in nine different seasons, including their 20th season?
Answer: not many, if any.
What do A-Rod and Sosa have to do with Jim Thome?
Well, it's steroids.
Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa, two of the most recent members of the 600 Home Run Club, were both caught in the middle of steroid scandals, something Thome, in his 20 year career, has never been a part of.
Of course there has to be suspicion, as there is with any player in the Steroid Era, but at 40 years old, Thome has never been caught using steroids and I'm sure he's taken a test or two.
It's as simple as it sounds.
Jim Thome just hit 600 Home Runs. Because of Thome's down-home, under the radar image, that number looks a little less glorious than it is in actuality. He's one of eight players to ever accomplish this feat. One of eight of the hundreds of thousands of Major League players to play the game!
In a league marked by scandal, gambling and steroids, there are few players in baseball that are truly good role models.
As I grew up Jim Thome was the guy I looked up to.
He did things the right way. He was always smiling and laughing, enjoying the game of baseball the way it should be enjoyed.
When steroids became a major problem in baseball, Thome's name never came up. Not once.
While watching SportsCenter this evening, I heard a specific word over and over again: ambassador. Thome was, and continues to be, an ambassador for the game of baseball. He is the most classy and nicest player in the game today, and is a guy that represents Major League Baseball the way that Major League Baseball wants to be represented.
Thome is a guy that Major League Baseball should be proud to put in the Hall of Fame. For as many people as they've kept out for their wrong-doings, Thome is a guy they should be rushing in for all that he did right.