Monday night, Jim Thome became only the 8th player in MLB history to hit 600 home runs. With Thome entering the elite company of only seven others, we decided to take a look at how ticket prices for his chase compared with the last player to reach the milestone, Alex Rodriguez, in 2010. To do this, we charted the average price for the seven games leading up to the milestone.
Although the range for ticket prices was fairly similar -- between $50 and $100 for both -- the trendline was very different for each chase. For A-Rod, at 7 games out, the average ticket price was $47 for a Thursday game in Cleveland and then jumped to $94 for the first game back in the Bronx. After a few ups and down, the 600-game sold for an average of $88, only 4% above the Yankees season average. With impatience replacing anticipation, Yankee fans were not interested in overpaying, even with the chance to witness a signature moment in the new ballpark.
Thome's chase started at home with a three-game set against Boston, which averaged $104. While one might argue that the Boston series skew the number, this years series was 33% higher than last years series at Target Field. With the team headed out on a seven-game road trip, Twins fans may have sensed that it would be the last opportunity to see 600 in person.
When Thome and the Twins hit the road, the first stop was Cleveland, where the series averaged $68, or 28% above the season average and 80% higher than the previous Twins-Indians series in early June. Clearly, Indians fans were hoping that Thome could reach 600 at the field he called home for 12 years. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be and the chase moved onto Detroit, where the series average price was $45, or 8% below their season average.
When the Twins arrived at Comerica, it had been eight games since 598, and despite his reputation as a Tiger killer, there was very little anticipation that he would hit two homers during the series, let alone in the first game. For the fans who had a ticket, they saw Thome once again fell the hometown Tigers. This time around, though, they had a nice consolation prize of witnessing something no one else ever had: 599 and 600 in the same game. Whether they paid the average of $47, or the get-in price of $8, it was a deal to remember for 36,211 baseball fans.