Jim Thome is not what an average baseball fan might call a pure hitter. His career batting average is under .280, and he ranks second all-time in batter strikeouts. But Thome also boasts 601 career home runs and a .403 on-base percentage.
Like so many left-handed sluggers, Thome has a satin-smooth swing, almost artistic in its swoop. Science has never sufficiently explained why, but left-handed swings invariably please the eye more than right-handed ones. Thome is in great company among power hitters, but some of history's best batters for speed and average—Ty Cobb, Rod Carew and Ichiro, to name a few—also put the right foot forward in the box. Thome's milestone home run last week solidified his place in history, but does it put him among the elite left-handed hitters of baseball lore?