On Sunday, Jim Thome slugged a 490-foot blast against the Royals that helped propel the Twins to victory. The homer got people talking, particularly because it was Thome's 596th career dinger, bringing him closer to becoming the 8th Major Leaguer to reach the 600 club. When he reaches that mark, Thome will become the 5th player in the past decade to get there. While Thome has earned the distinction over the course of a 21-year career, some commentators are wondering if his pending accomplishment forces us to reassess what 600 homers means anymore. Here, a rundown of the best takes on Thome's coming milestone:
600 isn't what it used to be: "Thome, unfortunately, is walking, swinging proof of how devalued home-run totals are today," says David Steele at Aol Fanhouse. The club is "less than half as exclusive now as it was just a decade ago." We've been here too many times before of late. "Now, Thome might as well be hitting them in a vacant lot. The feat is watered down beyond recognition."
We should be celebrating him: "Now, here's how special Thome is. He played during the stained 'steroid era' with Bonds, Sosa, A-Rod and Griffey. Griffey and Thome have never been accused of using anything by a credible source nor tested positive. Bonds, Sosa and A-Rod have. It should make us appreciate this impending feat that much more," says Matt Snyder at CBS Sports. "Instead, the hype doesn't seem to be building nearly as much as it should [...] Whatever the reason, we need to rectify it."
He's one of the greats: "He won't be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he's a lock to be elected, says Bob Matthews in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "Some statistical plateaus should be worthy of automatic induction to the Hall of Fame: 3,000 hits; 550 home runs (used to be 500); 1,500 RBI; 300 victories. His 600th homer will only further seal the deal "Thome won't be recalled as one of the 80-or-so best players of all-time, but he was productive enough for long enough to be a cinch future Hall of Famer."