Jim Thome Passes Idol Mike Schmidt for 12th All-Time Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rednour   
Sunday, 31 May 2009

The gladiator in him couldn’t allow Jim Thome to fully enjoy his 548th home run (that moved him into a tie for 13th place on the all-time home run list with Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt), because the White Sox lost the May 19th game to Toronto.

"It's nice to accomplish this but not fun to come home after getting swept," Thome said after the Chicago south siders’ disappointing road trip.  "It's always nice to tie somebody that had a great career, and again it's an honor to be in the same club (500 HRC) as Mike Schmidt, but you would like to do it in a win," He said.

Both Schmidt and Thome began their careers as third baseman, but Schmidt combined his power with great defense and stayed at the position throughout his career…while “Big Jim” has served as an intimidating force on the White Sox team that won in all in 2005.  

Six days later, the 5-time All Star was definitely in a mood to celebrate (but still wouldn’t gloat) when he led the “Sox Power Surge” that resulted in a 17-3 rout of the Los Angeles Angels with several hits including a three-run home run (#549), which eclipsed his one-time teammate Schmidt on the all-time leader list.

Thome Is Big Schmidt Fan…and That’s Not Gonna Change

Jim Thome still has the photograph of Mike Schmidt grabbing his hand and raising it aloft as the two of them stood at home plate at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium when the Phillies played their final game there in 2003.
The two sluggers will always be linked because of that moment, which Schmidt viewed as a symbolic passing of the torch.

Thome made certain he acknowledged the Hall of Fame third baseman after passing him on the all-time list. “To have Mike Schmidt do that at the last game at the Vet, when he lifted my hand, was one of the better feelings of my career. Mike is class.” Thome recalled. "Anytime you can associate your name with the greats, like a Mike Schmidt, it's a true honor and very humbling because you know what they've done for the game.”

Big Jim got the baseball back from this historic blast #549, just as he has for every home run from 500 moving forward.  “Maybe the ball will go next to that picture now,” said the starry-eyed power-hitter. “It'll be pretty neat.''

"It's unbelievable, really, when you hear the names of the guys he's passing and putting in his rear-view mirror who are legendary,'' teammate Chicago Paul Konerko said. "You've got to sit back sometimes and just realize that you're playing with a legend. I mean, Jim's such a normal guy and such a humble guy, and just like any other teammate. But you still realize that his place in history just keeps climbing.'

Thome is moving up on Alex Rodriguez, who is a moving target with 560, and both are pursuing “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson (563), Rafael Palmeiro (569) and Harmon Killebrew (573) who are within their reach this season.

Editor’s Note: Thome and Schmidt both hit 30 or more home runs in nine consecutive seasons, but Jim Thome's streak is still alive.

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