words // Nick Engvall
This year has already been a great year for baseball in terms of milestones, as it’s not often a player reaches 3,000 hits. However, it’s even more rare that a player reach 600 home runs in his career. Only 7 players in the history of baseball have done it, and after Monday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers, Jim Thome became the 8th and jumped into the record books with career home runs number 599 and 600 in back-to-back at-bats.
Thome’s season has been riddled with injuries, something one might expect for a player who has played for 21 years and is set to turn 41 years old in just a couple of weeks. However, last night, age was nothing but a number. Jim became one of the few to make the 600 Home Run club, but the only one to ever reach the milestone in the very next at-bat after hitting number 599.
Thome, one of the most humble athletes in the history of sports, showed a well-earned smile and an ever-so-slight pump of the fist as he rounded first base. A display of emotion that is rare for Thome who once apologized for pausing to admire one of his home runs before rounding the bases. However, as Thome rounded third base, he was greeted at home plate by his teammates. But as a testament to how great of a player he is, the rival Detroit fans, who Thome tormented most of his career, gave the slugger a well-deserved standing ovation.