Jim Thome became the eighth player in MLB history to hit 600 home runs – knocking two out of the park to opposite field for the Twins in their 9-6 win over the Detroit Tigers. In honor of his achievement, the first to reach 600 since Alex Rodriguez did just over a year ago, here are all the players to reach and pass this milestone.
But lets stay with Thome a bit – In his 21st season (starting with the Indians in 1991), Thome has spent almost his entire career with AL Central teams. His two home runs yesterday brought him up to 65, his most against any team. In terms of at bats, Thome needed 8167, the second fewest behind Babe Ruth, who needed only 6921.
Babe Ruth – Not just one of or THE greatest baseball players ever, but a huge sports icon, specifically in America. He’s third on the all time home run list with 714 and was pretty much the first big hitter in the game and someone who ushered in a new era that moved baseball from low scoring, speed based games to something completely different. He is still the all time leader in Slugging (.690) and OPS (1.164).
Willie Mays – Considered by many to be the greatest all-around baseball player in history, Ted Williams once said about Mays – ‘They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays”. Mays spent 23 season in the Majors, 21 of them with the Giants, in New York and the Bay Area. He won one World Series (1954) and hit over 50 home runs in a season twice. On September 1969 he hit his 600th home run off Mike Corkins. He finished his career with 660, 4th all time.
Hank Aaron – Also on the 3000 hits list, like Mays, Aaron led the all time home runs list for over 30 years with his 755, second best all time. Aaron was one home run short of breaking Ruth’s record in 1973, hitting 40 that season. After the season ended, Aaron stated that his only fear was that he might not live to play in the 1974 season. He received death threats and hate mail during the off season. He tied the record on his very first at bat of the 1974 season. He hit the record breaker on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta.
Barry Bonds – Willie Mays’ godson, Bonds might be the greatest baseball player in history. There’s just that illegal substance problem hanging over his head and legacy. Still, in terms of numbers, Bonds is right up there with the very best. He is the all time home run leader with 762. He his the one that broke Aaron’s record on August 7, 2007.
Sammy Sosa – Sosa might have lost the battle with Mark McGwire for that home run record in 1998, but finished above him in the all time charts. Sosa retired in 2007 with 609 home runs, 7th best all time. McGwire fell short of the 600 mark with 583, 10th all time. Sosa had three seasons of 60+ home runs. His legacy and future spot in the hall of fame is also in question with allegations regarding a positive drug test in 2003.
Ken Griffey Jr. – A 13 time All-Star and 10 time Gold Glover, Griffey retired in June 2010 during his short second stint with the Mariners. He finished his career with 630 home runs, 5th best all time. He hit his 600th home run while playing for the Reds in 2008 on June 9.
Alex Rodriguez – Like Bonds, the numbers say he’s one of the greatest. Now, about his personality and the evidence and admitting to taking and using illegal substances…
Rodriguez, 36, is 6th on the all time lists with 626 home runs. A coupe of years ago he seemed likely to reach the top spot by the time he retires. With the injuries that have been plaguing him in recent years, that’s doubtful. He is the youngest player to hit 600 home runs, getting his at 35 years and 8 days old on August 2010.