Minnesota Twins slugger, Jim Thome, reached a baseball milestone on Monday (August 15), when he became just the eighth player in MLB history to reach 600 homers.
During a game against the Detroit Tigers, the 40-year-old first baseman smacked one out of the park in just two innings, following #599 a inning before to help his team beat the Tigers 9-6.
On the heels of Derek Jeter reaching 3,000 hits, Thome is the latest to reach an iconic milestone. Like Jeter, Thome has navigated his way through The Steroid Era and The Testing Era with a princely reputation — beloved by fans and respected by opponents.
Thome received a standing ovation from the Detroit crowd, as he rounded the bases after #600.
“Hitting home runs can be very difficult,” Thome said, according to ESPN. “You sit in bed at night and you think about how’s it going to be, how are you going to do this? It goes back to trying to slow yourself down and not being too antsy, too hyped up. It’s just a great night.”
Thome played 100 games for the first time in 1995, at age 24. Following that year, the next nine seasons became what is known today as The Steroid Era — during which such sluggers as Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, and Manny Ramirez hit bombs over park walls for years.
All of those names have been connected to steroids except one: Jim Thome.
Back in 2005 Thome told SI, “The strongest thing I put into my body is steak and eggs. I just eat. I’m not a supplement guy. I try to get in shape, get ready to go. Steroids are not even a thought.”
Reaching the feat, he came just the fifth to do so without a connection to steroids, putting him among such greats as Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr. Only two players not connected to steroids ever hit home runs more frequently, based on at-bats, than Thome: Ruth and Ryan Howard, who has yet to encounter the decline phase of his career.