535th Home Run Leapfrogs “Double XX” Jimmie Foxx; Puts Him One Behind Mantle
Last September, “The Thomenator” Jim Thome joined The 500 Home Run Club, and he’s in the groove again this summer. The towering Chicago DH has hit four homers in his last 10 games, and is bruising the ball with a .525 slugging percentage. In other words folks…The Thomenator is on a tear.
On September 16, 2007, a day when the White Sox handed out Jim Thome bobbleheads as a promotion, the Chicago DH was 0-for-4 when he came to bat with the game knotted at 7 in the bottom of the ninth. After Darin Erstad singled to start the inning, “The Thomenator” cracked a 3-2 pitch off Dustin Moseley for his 500th career homer, capping Chicago's rally from a 7-1 deficit.
"There are 499 other guys who gave one up," Moseley said. "Somebody had to do it and I can handle it."
Since then, “Big Jim” hasn’t slowed his home run hitting pace. He has consistently been amongst the home run/RBI and morale leaders for the team he grew up cheering for from his hometown of Peoria, IL team, The Chicago White Sox.
"It's hard to explain what's going through me right now," he said. "What a great day. It's tough to hit home runs when people want you to…so I’m just trying to relax and let the game come to me, so I can do everything possible to help our team win."
On August 25th, 2008, Thome demonstrated his value to the Chi Sox and climbed another rung up the MLB career home run leader board — by hitting his 535th lifetime long ball. The titantic blast (28th of the season for J.T.) leapfrogged Thome over “The Beast” Jimmie Foxx and prevented the Chicago White Sox from dropping out of first place in the AL Central.
“Anytime you got a team like Minnesota that’s right there (and) we’re getting close to September, that kind of enhances it,” Thome said.
Along with helping his team’s hunt for post-season play, the dinger gave Thome sole possession of 15th place on the all-time HR list and put him within a single home run of Yankees’ legend Mickey Mantle. But don’t expect Jim to idle behind “The Commerce Comet” for long.
“Very special,” Thome said. “We’ve talked about it. Anytime you can tie or move ahead of the greats that played the game, it’s very humbling. It’s something you look back and feel very honored. You cherish that, for sure.”
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, Thome has a staggering .562 career slugging percentage, and a career .407 on base percentage; not to mention that he has as many 100-RBI seasons (nine) as McCovey and Willie Stargell combined, and as many 40-homer seasons (six) as Willie Mays. At this rate, he could ratchet up his totals in both the career RBI and 40-homer season categories by the end of 2008.