Jim Thome's pursuit of 600 career home runs hasn't been getting a whole lot of attention, in part because home runs happen relatively infrequently. But Monday night, in the sixth inning of a road game against the Detroit Tigers, the Minnesota Twins DH blasted a low-and-away Rick Porcello fastball out to left-center field for homer number 599. Suddenly just one away, Thome put everyone on high alert.
And though nobody was sure how long it would take Thome to hit his next, it turned out that he needed only one more inning. In the top of the seventh, Thome batted with two on against Tigers reliever Daniel Schlereth. Thome got ahead 2-and-1, then drilled a low breaking ball deep to left field. New left fielder Delmon Young drifted back to the wall and made a leaping attempt, but the ball was too far gone and Thome rounded the bases as the eighth and newest member of baseball's 600 home run club.
It was appropriate that neither of Thome's home runs on Monday were pulled, as he's long been one of baseball's best power hitters to all fields. As he reached home plate, he hugged his teammates and was joined on the field by his family in a very heartwarming moment. The Tigers fans, for their part, gave Thome a rousing standing ovation.
The 600 Home Run Club, having welcomed just its eighth member, now reads:
Hank Aaron (755)
Babe Ruth (714)
Willie Mays (660)
Jim Thome (600)