|Thome hits number 596 on Sunday afternoon|
The steroids era has dampened the excitement over home run milestones, as the public is skeptical about whether or not some career home run totals are inflated because of performance enhancing drugs (Bonds, A-Rod, Sosa, McGwire... you get the point). One modern player whose home run total really isn't questioned is Ken Griffey Jr.'s. Whenever you hear Junior's name it isn't automatically followed by steroids. Jim Thome falls into the same category as Junior. While people will now always ask if a player took steroids, Thome seems to escape the conversation, despite the fact that he's a big slugger who played during the steroids era, who quietly has amassed the eighth largest home run total of all-time. His march towards 600 hasn't been too popular either, probably because 1) not many people associate Jim Thome with such a high number of home runs, 2) he hasn't put together a great all-around season in awhile, 3) he plays in Minnesota, and 4) he's only hitting .221 this season with seven home runs.
However, I think it would be really nice to see a genuinely positive reaction when he hits number 600. Despite the fact that he played in the steroids era, Thome will do something that only seven others have done in the history of the game. He is a great teammate and a great guy and he's lucky to play in Minnesota, where the fans love the game of baseball and love having him on the team. So despite the questions over validity, expect a pretty positive reaction when Thome finally hits his eleventh bomb of the season and the 600th of his 21-season career. He deserves the praise.