Jim Thome became the eighth member of Major League Baseball’s 600-home run club when he hit two in the Minnesota Twins’ 9-6 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Thome, 40, hit a three-run homer to left field on a 2-1 pitch from Daniel Schlereth in the seventh inning for his 600th career home run to give the Twins a 9-5 lead. His 599th home run was a two-run shot off Rick Porcello to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning. Thome has 11 home runs this season.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Thome acknowledged the standing ovation from the crowd of 36,211 as he rounded the bases at Comerica Park in Detroit last night before being greeted by his teammates at home plate. The Tigers also posted a congratulatory message on the scoreboard.
“I envisioned doing this in Minnesota, amongst the home fans, but to do it anywhere is great,” Thome told reporters. “To watch them stand up and cheer is very special, something I’ll never forget.”
The five-time All-Star joins Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez as the only major leaguers with 600 or more homers. He and Rodriguez, of the New York Yankees, are the only active players on the list.
Thome reached the mark in his 8,137th at-bat, the second- fewest after Ruth, who hit 600 home runs in 6,921 at-bats.
The Twins won for just the second time in 10 games to improve to 53-67, while the American League Central-leading Tigers dropped to 64-57. Minnesota is 10 1/2 games behind Detroit.
Delmon Young, who was traded to the Tigers from the Twins yesterday, hit a home run in the first inning to give Detroit a 1-0 lead.
Thome never has been linked to the surge in steroid use that propelled home-run production in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
Bonds, the career leader with 762 homers, is awaiting sentencing for obstructing justice in a federal investigation of steroid use. Sosa was called before a U.S. congressional committee hearing on drugs in baseball. Rodriguez acknowledged using them while with the Texas Rangers.
Thome has played for four teams besides the Twins, including the first 12 years of his major league career with the Cleveland Indians starting in 1991.
In addition to his power, Thome is a league leader in personality. Sports Illustrated’s 2007 poll of 464 major leaguers named him as baseball’s second-friendliest player, behind Mike Sweeney.
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