By Josh Kramer
Baseball has always been a game about the numbers. It is a sport where up until the steroid era, numbers and milestone markers such as the 500 home run club or the 3,000 hit club seemed to be the name of the game if a player wanted a prayer at getting a plaque in Cooperstown. Recently, Derek Jeter’s journey to 3,000 was the center of attention in New York for over a month. In addition, it received the limelight of the entire sporting world for a good 48 hours. Jeter’s pursuit was an impressive one. I mean the guy did become just the 28th player of all time to hit the prestigious mark and the first player to do it while wearing the infamous pinstripes.
Well there is another guy that is very close to hitting a major MLB milestone marker. This prestigious club only has seven members currently, which is a fourth of the members that are in the 3,000 hit club. Of course I am talking about none other than Jim Thome, and his pursuit of the 600 home run club.
Thome currently is just four mighty strokes away from joining the ultra exclusive group. Where is the love for Thome?
Jim Thome has been in the Major Leagues for over 20 years now. He is 40-years-old and is going about this trek the same way that he has gone about things his entire career. With a quiet, workmanlike mentality. Thome does not have the stardom of a Derek Jeter. Sure he has played for five different teams in his career. But he never played for one of the New York teams. He never received the media glitz that comes from playing for the Yankees or Red Sox. Thome also never really got caught up in the steroid business. Or at least that we know of. He has never been the controversial type with his on the field or off the field actions. Somehow one of the game’s premier stars throughout the 90s has remained somewhat “MIA” from media nonsense for the better part of two decades.
I guess being the quiet hard working type in this case is hurting Thome. The man is just a week or two away from joining one of the most prestigious clubs in baseball (and of all sports). He will become just the eighth man to hit 600 home runs. Yet hardly anybody is talking about it.
To be entirely honest, I do not think Thome would want it any other way. This is likely the last year for the future Hall of Fame slugger. He will achieve this milestone, then most likely ride off into the sunset of retirement. He will achieve this milestone just like he has accomplished most of his other remarkable feats during his career. In silence.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.