Jim Thome Flies Under The Radar To No. 12 All-Time Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rednour   
Monday, 31 August 2009

“The Thomenator” passes “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson With #564
Unlike some of the members of The 500 Home Run Club whom he has bulled his way past in the past two seasons – such as Reggie Jackson (563), Mike Schmidt (548), Mickey Mantle (536), Ted Williams (521) and Ernie Banks (512) – Jim Thome has never really cared much about standing in the spotlight.  In fact, after cranking out long ball #563 on August 15 http://bit.ly/ThomeTiesJacksonHRs and #564 TBD to take over sole possession of the 12th spot in MLB history, “Big Jim” didn’t want to make a big deal about his achievements.

"It's pretty neat and humbling," Thome said. "Reggie is one of the all-time greats with what he's done for the game, and to be a part of that is pretty neat."

As usual, his White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen found no shortage of words when talking about his players:  "He's guaranteed the Hall of Fame," Guillen observed. Jim always makes it fun. He's the same guy every day. If it was me, I guarantee you, everybody in the stadium would know I passed Reggie. But the way he goes about business is truly professional. Anyone would be proud to play next to a guy who is all about baseball."

And references to Jackson were all the more relevant considering that Big Jim tied him in Oakland’s historic Alameda County Coliseum (recently renamed Network Associates Coliseum), where Jackson’s retired '9' adorns a VIP area of the upper deck. 

"In Oakland! That was the first thing out of my mouth," Guillen exclaimed. "You have to play a lot of games to do that. Every time he hits a home run, it's history."

As of the writing of this article, Thome need on five to match Rafael Palmeiro for 11th, and 9 to match Harmon Killebrew's 573.

Thome recently talked at length with Jackson, who accompanied the Yankees into U.S. Cellular Field on Chicago’s south side, and says that his climb up the home run charts was never mentioned.  “Reggie is very energetic, and any time you talk with him, you just soak it all in," Thome said. "That's how the conversation kind of went."

Always one to let the quality of his game do his talking for him, Considered to be one of the most "complete" power hitters of his decade, due to his ability to create extra base hits, maintain a solid batting average for a power hitter, and his ability to get on base.  In fact, Thome has 12 seasons of 30 home runs and 85 RBI, the third most in baseball history behind only Hank Aaron (14), Mike Schmidt (13) and Babe Ruth (13).

Here’s a comparison of how Jim Thome’s career stats stack up to other great home run hitters:

  • 30+ home run seasons (12X) and as many 40-homer seasons (6) as Willie Mays
  • 100+ RBI seasons (9X)  
  • .558 career slugging percentage 
  • .405 career on-base percentage
  • .965 OPS (on-base+slugging percentage) good enough for 18th best ever for a batter with at   least 3,000 plate appearances.  
  • One of just 11 players in MLB history to hit 400 home runs, knock in 1,500 runs, score 1,400 times and post an OPS of at least .950. 
  • One of only six players to be named Player of the Month in each league (Vladimir Guerrero, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Gaylord Perry and Dave Winfield are the others).
  • Fourth lowest career AB/HR (at bats per home run) average in major-league history. His 13.68 (about 1 HR every 14 times he comes to bat) is eclipsed only by Mark McGwire (10.61), Babe Ruth (11.76), and Barry Bonds (12.90).


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