Posted on: August 17, 2011 9:53 am

Pepper: Signing deadline needs to be moved up

Bubba Starling

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The last couple of days showed us some of the best of baseball, five walkoffs on Tuesday, Jim Thome's 600th home run on Monday, triple plays both Monday and Tuesday and so much more. But Monday night we saw one of the things that needs to be fixed, and that's the signing deadline for draft picks.

Yesterday I touched on this, but I suggested just moving it from midnight to a more reasonable hour. That was a selfish wish. Hall of Famer George Brett tells the Kansas City Star that the deadline needs to be moved up more than a month to something like July 4.

The reason is simple, the development of players is stunted by a year and the posturing could hurt players. According to Brett, the Royals and Scott Boras, the "advisor" for their top pick, Bubba Starling, didn't even start talking until 10:30 p.m. on Monday night. The two sides then agreed to a deal with 20-40 seconds left, Brett said.

"If they made the deadline July 4, these guys would sign July 4 and the guy would jump on the plane and play some real baseball rather than go to Arizona when the season is almost over after not picking up a ball and a bat for how long … and playing football … he's not baseball ready," Brett told the newspaper. "It's going to take him a while." 

Instead of playing baseball and cashing checks, Starling was working out with the Nebraska football team as a negotiating ploy, showing that he was "serious" that he'd turn down millions of dollars to play football. He was also risking injury and his future with no guarantee.

That said, with the way money was thrown around on Monday night, it seems to make little sense to sign early. The teams showed that players who wait to sign until the deadline will be rewarded. An agent I spoke to on Tuesday said he's had players sign early in the past -- which is all well and good for the teams, but did he do his players' a disservice by not waiting until the end? In his previous cases, no, it was still the right thing to do. But next time? When the 27th player picked gets $800,000 above slot, the waiting game pays. That's not going to change, the way to fix that it to shorten the wait.

Pirates' booty: Speaking of the draft signings, the Pirates spent $17 million in signing bonuses for their draft picks. While there are negatives, for Pittsburgh, this is a positive. For many years teams like the Royals and Pirates wouldn't draft the best available player in the draft, instead drafting the best available player that would fit into their budget. The Royals gave Bubba Starling a huge contract and the Pirates gave out several, including an $8 million signing bonus to No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole and $5 million for second-rounder Josh Bell. Last season we heard about how the Pirates weren't spending their luxury tax gains, but now we see an actual plan and owner Bob Nutting is putting money into the team. [MLB.com]

Right player, wrong position: Living in Cincinnati I've seen this before -- teams in MLB will often pick the best player available in the draft, regardless of position, now Yonder Alonso is in the big leagues with the Reds and has little to do because Joey Votto isn't going to sit the bench for him. The Nationals saw a player some considered to be the best in the draft fall to them and couldn't pass up Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon, despite already having a 26-year-old at third base in Ryan Zimmerman. The Nationals are happy to have Rendon and let that problem play out. [MASNSports.com]

Bundy eyes 2013: Orioles first-round pick Dylan Bundy said his plan is to be in the big leagues in 2013. The right-hander would be 20 in 2013. Brett would tell him if he was serious about that, he maybe should have signed sooner. [Baltimore Sun]

Overrated Howard: Baseball-Reference.com's Sean Forman made the argument in the New York Times that Philadelphia's Ryan Howard is not an elite hitter. The bigger argument was about overvaluing the RBI -- the stat that Howard provides much of Howard's worth. It does certainly help that he plays for the Phillies and has some pretty decent players in front of him in the lineup.

Umps visit kids: Jerry Meals may be Public Enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, but not to 3-year-old Emily Berger. Berger, who had undergone surgery on Monday, was one of the children visited by a group of MLB umpires to visit a children's hospital on Tuesday. Meals, who famously blew the call at home plate to end a 19-inning game in Atlanta for Pittsburgh loss, and the rest of his crew hosted a Build-A-Bear workshop for dozens of children. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Sizemore improving: The Indians hope Grady Sizemore can return next month after he started baseball activities on Tuesday as part of his rehab from a right knee injury and a sports hernia surgery. [MLB.com]

Granderson's rare feat: Curtis Granderson has a shot at leading the American League in homers and triples. The last player to do that was Jim Rice in 1978. [Baseball-Reference.com]

Mariners doing well: Jack Zduriencik won the offseason according to many before the 2010 season, and we saw how that worked. But even with that in hindsight, it appears Zduriencik has had a good couple of weeks despite his team's fall in the standings over the last two months. [Seattle Times]

More Thome: If you haven't had enough of Jim Thome (and really, it's not like we've even got to a tenth of the DJ3K madness yet), his hometown paper, the Peoria JournalStar put together a fantastic package looking back on his life and career. Make sure you check it out.

Give the people what they want: Nice job by the Brewers' promotion department with the announcement of  "Tony Plush Rally Towels" for the Sept. 9 game against the Phillies. "Tony Plush" is the "gentleman's name" of outfielder Nyjer Morgan. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Bashing Boise: No, not the Broncos and their "Smurf turf," but the city's Class A team -- Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Boise's Memorial Stadium is "below standard." [Chicago Tribune]

Pros vs. G.I. Joes: Some White Sox players are playing video games with soldiers online. [MLB.com]

Hi, bye: Outfielder Jonny Gomes was traded from the Reds to the Nationals last month, but he wasn't informed until just before the Reds' game started, meaning he wasn't able to say goodbye to his teammates in Cincinnati. Now a member of the Nationals, Gomes got to say both hello and goodbye to the Reds when the team started their series in Washington. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

Cut those sideburns: Monday was the 20th anniversary of Don Mattingly sitting out a game for refusing to cut his hair. [MLB.com]

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 4:46 pm

On Deck: Eyeing three races


By Matt Snyder

We've already had one game Tuesday, but there's a full slate of 15 at night, thanks to the Red Sox and Rays having a double-header. Remember to keep those eyes glued on the CBSSports.com live scoreboard for all the action.

Watching the AL Central: The Tigers have lost two straight while the Indians and White Sox have each won two in a row. That means the Tigers have a two game lead over the Indians and 3 1/2 over the White Sox. The latter two square off Tuesday night, so the Tigers need a win of their own to keep up with whichever team wins. They certainly have the right man on the hill, as it's Justin Verlander's (17-5, 2.35) turn in the rotation. Verlander dominated the Twins -- Tuesday's opponent -- in one previous outing this season. Nick Blackburn (7-9, 4.36) starts for the Twins. Meanwhile the Indians send their new ace to the hill against the White Sox, as Ubaldo Jimenez (7-9, 4.37) faces off against Gavin Floyd (10-10, 4.35) of the White Sox. Twins at Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET; Indians at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. ET.

Watching the NL West: The Giants were in position to trim the Diamondbacks' lead to 1 1/2 games last night, but Brian Wilson's beard blew a save and the deficit is now 2 1/2. Fortunately for the Giants, the D-Backs have a tall order Tuesday night against Roy Halladay (15-4, 2.51) and the Phillies, who sport the best record in baseball by 4 1/2 games. Josh Collmenter (7-7, 3.51) is tasked with keeping his Arizona club close. The Giants have it a bit easier, but not by much. They're facing off against the Braves, who are tied for the second-best record in the National League. They're also sending the fickle Jonathan Sanchez (4-7, 4.29) to the mound. Rookie Randall Delgado starts for the Giants. The 21 year old only has three career starts above the Double-A level. Of note here, the Braves have won six consecutive regular-season games against the Giants. Diamondbacks at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET; Giants at Braves, 7:10 p.m. ET.

Watching the AL West: The Rangers traveled to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Angels Monday, and came out and beat the Angels Monday night. The victory gave the Rangers a five-game lead in the AL West, and it's getting a bit late in the season to chase more than two series' worth a deficit. Translation: The Angels need to win at least two of these next three games, which would get it back to a four-game deficit. If they can win all three, the Rangers' lead would be trimmed down to two. Of course, if the Rangers came out and swept the Angels, the eight-game lead would likely be insurmountable. Tuesday night a pair of young arms are pitted against one another as the Rangers go with Derek Holland (10-4, 4.30) and the Angels send Tyler Chatwood (6-8, 4.07) to the mound. Rangers at Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:19 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 11:25 am

Condom company honors Thome

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

We here at Eye on Baseball have bemoaned the lack of excitement about Jim Thome's 600 homers several times, but apparently there is at least one company that's… uh… excited… by Thome's feat, NuVo condoms.

This release hit the inbox of a CBSSports.com editor:

Jim Thome has reason to celebrate today after hitting his 600th homerun last night versus the Detroit Tigers. As a congratulatory gift for Thome’s incredible feat, NuVo sent the Minnesota Twins 600 condoms. NuVo hopes this offering to the team will help keep the Twins players and their partners safe during their celebrations. The Minnesota Twins
aren’t the only people that the NüVo team is looking out for – NüVo has already distributed over 200,000 free condoms this year alone. You can always hit a home run with NuVo Condoms!

Sure, it's a cheap stunt in hopes of getting blogs to write about their product (success!), but, yeah… hey, if they think Jim Thome can help sell them condoms, more power to them, I guess. Anyway, this is the same company that sent a "year supply" of condoms to Justin Bieber, so it's hardly new to the publicity stunt game.

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 9:54 am

Pepper: Thome's quiet run to the Hall of Fame

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't think there's any doubt Jim Thome will be in the Hall of Fame, but I did find it interesting that my wife had never heard of Thome.

The guy hits 600 home runs and the wife of someone whose life revolves around baseball had never heard of him. How is that possible? I thought chicks dug the long ball. 

Much of it, I guess, is that my wife is a National League kinda gal -- having been born in raised in  Braves country and now living in Cincinnati, the wife doesn't see much American League or even pay much attention to it. But still, Jim Thome?  I went through the teams -- Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins -- nope, not a flicker of recognition. The 1995 World Series when the Braves won? Well, He did only go 4 for 19 in the series.

It seems strange that she'd never heard of him, but it also seems to jibe with the relative silence of Thome's march to 600. Is it because Thome has always just been a quiet professional? He's never been in trouble, never even pounded his own chest. He's just been quietly hitting home runs and doing his job, day in and day out.

It's not that he's never been on the biggest stage, he's played in 67 postseason games and made it to two World Series, hitting one homer in 1995 and two in the '97 Series.

My friend Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a funny theory of the Hall of Fame -- for him it's all about the fame. If his mother has heard of someone, they belong. If she hasn't, no. So for KG's Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor is out, but Jose Canseco is in. Rod Carew? Nope. Bo Jackson, yes. I'm pretty sure Thome doesn't hit the fame standard, but he certainly belongs in the Hall.

Here's a couple of better articles putting his candidacy in perspective -- Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated has the backstory of Thome's bat point at the pitcher and other things in a great blog post and Steven Goldman has the argument against Thome being a mere "compiler."

Meals in Pittsburgh: Umpire Jerry Meals made his first appearance at PNC Park in Pittsburgh since his bad call that cost the Pirates a 19-inning game against the Braves. As you would expect, he was not greeted kindly by Pirates fans. Since the call, the Pirates have lost 15 of 19 and fallen from a tie for first place to fourth place in the National League Central. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Silly deadline: I understand why there's a deadline for signing draft picks and I even understand why it's in August, but I don't understand why it's at midnight. I talked to a scouting director on Sunday (and because it wasn't the Blue Jays' scouting director, he signed his first-round guy) and he said there's zero movement until late on Monday. On Sunday, there'd been no movement, but because these things go down to the wire, why not make move the wire up to a reasonable hour? How about 5 p.m. so you can announce it before a game and have everything all tidy? They've done that with the trade deadline, now with the increased focus on the draft, they need to do it on the signing deadline.

Full moon in Cooperstown: Did Robin Yount give Bert Blyleven an unusual greeting to the Hall of Fame? [FanGraphs.com

Scranton is nice in September: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it's unlikely the team would call up top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos when rosters expand in September. [New York Post]

Nicasio visits teammates: Juan Nicasio, who suffered a broken neck on Aug. 5, visited his Rockies teammates before Monday's game in Denver. Closer Houston Street told the Denver Post that Nicasio was "full of life," smiling and laughing with teammates. 

Career cut short: A Padres  prospect had to retire from baseball at 22 because of an inner-ear problem. Read all about Drew Cumberland. [Pensacola News-Journal]

Another good guy: This seems to fit with the Thome celebration, but if Thome's not the nicest guy in the game, Torii Hunter may be. Like Thome, I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about Hunter. In fact, I have a sportswriter friend who has a long list of people he doesn't like, but he named his dog Torii in honor of Hunter. Here's a good story about one of the good guys from ESPN.com's Jim Caple.

Read this: A really good story this weekend from the New York Daily News about baseball and Sept. 11. Go read it.

It's gotta be the shoes: Evan Longoria's new spikes have made a huge difference for the Rays' third baseman. [MLB.com]

Literary touch: I've only been to Safeco once (well, three games, one series), so I don't know all the ins and outs. I will say I love the park, but maybe even more so after seeing this from the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham -- the park has baseball-themed quotations on all its gates to the park. That's just so darn cool.

Murph blogs: One of the most interesting baseball blogs around right now is from former MVP Dale Murphy, who is enjoying blogging and Twitter. [New York Times]

New caps: Gone, apparently, are the ugly stars and stripes trucker caps to make a buck, and in their place for Sept. 11 will be simple American flag patches. It's certainly an improvement, but still not sure why everyone needs to be reminded what country they live in -- shouldn't the butchered version of the Star Spangled Banner by some American Idol-wannabe before the game be enough? 

New caps 2: That said, I do think it's cool that the Nationals will wear a cap with the Navy SEALs logo tonight to honor the 22 SEALs killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. It's the Nationals' first game back in Washington since the attack. [Washington Post]

Odd sight: There was something odd on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio -- empty seats. Home of professional sports' longest sellout streak, Dayton's Fifth Third Field had empty seats on Sunday as the Dragons and Lake County Captains played a continuation of Tuesday's suspended game was played before the regularly scheduled Sunday game. However, once that game started, the Dragons had their 832nd consecutive sellout. [Dayton Daily News]

Step back for Carter: Sad news today, as Gary Carter learned of a "mild step backward" on Monday, as a doctor's visit revealed his white blood cell count was low, which means he won't be able to start a scheduled round of chemotherapy that he was supposed to start today. [ESPN.com]

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Posted on: August 16, 2011 1:55 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 2:02 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Thome owned the night

By Matt Snyder

Jim Thome, Twins. What a day for one of the most respected players in baseball. Thome went 3-4 with five RBI in a Twins' 9-6 victory. Among those three hits were two home runs, meaning he now has 600 in his illustrious career. He's much more than just a home run hitter, too, so let's give him all the respect and adulation he deserves.

Mike Carp, Mariners. Don't look now, but the Mariners have a cleanup hitter. Long gone is Jack Cust and they don't have to use Adam Kennedy there anymore, either. Carp has locked down that lineup slot as he's presently on fire. The 25 year old went 2-4 with a pair of home runs Monday night, including an eighth-inning shot that tied the game at five. He's now 36-for-97 (.371) with six home runs and 26 RBI since rejoining the lineup July 19. Between Carp, Casper Wells and Dustin Ackley, the Mariners seem to have a good, young core of offensive players for the future.

Ryan Doumit, Pirates. The catcher tied a career high with four hits, as he went 4-4 with a three-run homer in a 6-2 win over the Cardinals. He's now 10-for-23 (.435) since coming off the disabled list. Considering the Pirates have fallen out of the race and at least one contending team -- the Giants -- wouldn't mind an offensive upgrade at catcher for this year, he's an intriguing name in terms of a possible trade candidate through the waivers process this month.

Bonus Up: Jason Isringhausen of the Mets recorded his 300th career save Monday night in San Diego. He's the 23rd man in baseball history to achieve the feat and only Mariano Rivera and Francisco Cordero among active players have more.

Brian Wilson, Giants. The Giants were all set to move within 1 1/2 games of the Diamondbacks in the NL West when Wilson coughed this one up. He was spotted a 4-2 lead, but ended up walking off the field with a 5-4 loss. Three singles and two walks amounted to three earned runs, the blown save and the loss for The Beard.

Marlins' 9th inning. It was a rough inning for Jack McKeon's club. The Marlins went into the ninth with a 4-3 lead over the Rockies and closer Leo Nunez coming into the game. Dexter Fowler hit what reads in the box score as a double, but it was actually a flare that no one could get to. When Marlins third baseman Greg Dobbs ended up with the ball at second base, Fowler was slipping between first and second and was a sitting duck. Dobbs then fired an errant throw in an attempt to cut down Fowler, which instead allowed Fowler to reach second base. “Hindsight being 20-20, I should have held the ball and ran at him,” Dobbs said after the game (Fish Tank). A Carlos Gonzalez double plated Fowler to tie the game. McKeon then elected to intentionally walk Troy Tulowitzki and bring in left-handed specialist Randy Choate to face left-handed hitting Jason Giambi. It was certainly the right move on paper, but Giambi hit a three-run, walk-off homer. Basically, Lady Luck was not on the side of the Marlins in the ninth.

The Angels. They lost a young starting pitcher to a groin injury in the first inning, gave up eight runs on 14 hits and committed three errors against the Rangers Monday night. Oh, and the Angels also fell five games behind the Rangers in the AL West. There are three games left in the series, but that could mean bad news if the Angels don't wake up. Otherwise they're liable to see themselves eight games back by the weekend, especially if they play the way they did Monday.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 11:41 pm

Video: Thome's first career home run

By Matt Snyder

Jim Thome became the eighth man in baseball history to hit 600 career home runs when he went deep twice Monday night. He hit his first career home run all the way back in 1991. He was only 21, but he already had serious power and a flair for the dramatic. In the top of the ninth in (old) Yankee Stadium, with Thome's Indians trailing 2-1, he dug in against Steve Farr with a runner on base. And he planted one into the upper deck to give the Indians a 3-2 lead.

Courtesy of MLB.com, check it out below.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 10:40 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 8:36 am

Much more to Thome than home runs

By Matt Snyder

Monday night, to far less fanfare than he deserved, Jim Thome hit the 599th and 600th home runs of his career. When someone achieves a milestone in sports these days -- the days of social media where every fan in the world gets an anonymous voice with which to tear people down for kicks -- the conversation nearly immediately turns to the big picture. Is Jim Thome a Hall of Famer?

Honestly, I don't even understand how it's a discussion. The best possible outcome a hitter can achieve for his team at the plate is a home run. Only seven men have ever done that more than Jim Thome in the history of baseball. Period. End of discussion, right? Nope, there are still dissenters. The most common has something to do with Thome being a "one-dimensional" player, which is usually packaged with an attack on him being a designated hitter.

On the DH argument, one can't convince the people who believe DHs don't count, so it's not even worth trying. Nevermind that starting pitchers don't complete every game or relief pitchers are specialized. No, if he only bats, there's a certain segment of the fan community that utterly refuses to recognize a DH as a player. So we'll get past that.

As far as Thome being one-dimensional, that is completely false. Yes, he has power and that's the only reason he's still playing at age 40. Honestly, even if he is one-dimensional, I don't understand why it's bad. It's not like his one-dimension is he has a great throwing arm yet can't field. Or he's really fast yet can't get on base. His power is the best possible dimension you can have as a baseball player. You can score one run -- or more -- on one swing. Monday night he drove home five runs in two swings and the Twins won by three. No other aspect of a baseball player can do that. It's just that Thome is more than just home runs.

Look at Thome's on-base percentage. He has 2,263 hits and 1,710 walks. Add in the 68 times he's been hit with a pitch, and Thome has reached base over 4,000 times in his career, good for 42nd all-time. As Jayson Stark of ESPN tweeted Monday night, only Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds have a higher on-base percentage in the 600 home run club than Thome. He has 440 career doubles, too.

Only 16 players in baseball history have a better OPS. If you aren't familiar with OPS, here's the top five of all-time, for a point of reference: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols.

And let's not forget Thome's personality. You can scoff if you want, but the Baseball Hall of Fame specifically tells voters to consider integrity and character. When Thome hit his 600th home run Monday night, the response on Twitter was overwhelming. From former teammates to long-time opponents to baseball writers to opposing managers to fans, the message was the same: There is no one in baseball nicer or a better person than Thome. An All-Star from the opposite dugout echoed the sentiment Monday night. One writer said he has never, ever heard a bad thing about Thome. And Thome's been in baseball for 21 years. That's pretty difficult to do, even for the best guys in the game. If you want hardware, Thome won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2002 (for sportsmanship) and the Lou Gehrig Award (for character and integrity both on and off the field) in 2004.

One argument I've heard against Thome's Hall candidacy is his lack of MVP pedigree, as he only finished in the top five once and the top 10 four times. My response to this is that he was playing clean in the PED era during his entire prime. You want an example? Click here and look at the numbers in the 2002 AL MVP voting, in which Thome finished seventh. He hit .304 with 52 home runs, 118 RBI, 101 runs and a 1.122 OPS and finished seventh.

A one-dimensional player who "only hits home runs" is Wily Mo Pena or Rob Deer. Maybe you wanna go back to Dave Kingman. That's fine, too. Just do not paint Jim Thome with that brush. He is much better than that and deserves better. He's a Hall of Famer in every sense of the word.

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Posted on: August 15, 2011 8:37 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 10:55 pm

Thome slugs home runs No. 599, 600

By Matt Snyder

Career HR Leaders
Player Total
1. Barry Bonds 762
2. Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr. 630
6. Alex Rodriguez-y 626
7. Sammy Sosa 609
8. Jim Thome-y 600
9. Frank Robinson 586
10. Mark McGwire 583
Twins designated hitter Jim Thome has joined one of baseball's most exclusive clubs. Monday night in the top of the sixth inning against the Tigers, Thome took Rick Porcello deep to left-center for a two-run home run. It was the 599th homer of Thome's long career. In the top of the seventh inning, Thome went to left field off Daniel Schlereth for his 600th home run. He drove home five runs in back-to-back at-bats to give the Twins a 9-5 lead.

Thome was greeted at home plate, after his 600th homer, by his family and his Twins teammates. He was also given a respectful, classy ovation from the Detroit fans on hand to witness the historical homers. The 600th home run ball went into the Twins' bullpen, so the story of what some fan will do with the ball goes away. Twins closer Joe Nathan retrieved the ball and it's now in the possession of Thome's son.

Thome is now the eighth man in the history of baseball with 600 career home runs. Alex Rodriguez was previously the most recent player to join the group, which had as few as three members at the turn of the millennium. Thome became the first player in baseball history to hit home runs 599 and 600 in consecutive at-bats. He also became the second-fastest to 600, in terms of at-bats, as only Babe Ruth had less at-bats when hitting his 600th home run. Thome also became the oldest man to reach 600 home runs, passing Sammy Sosa, who was 37 when he hit No. 600 in 2007.

Thome, 40, has been playing in the bigs for parts of 21 seasons with five different teams. He hit 334 home runs for the Indians, 134 for the White Sox, 96 for the Phillies and zero for the Dodgers. Monday night's home runs were the 35th and 36th for Thome in a Twins uniform in what amounts to a bit less than a full season's worth of at-bats. So he certainly still has great power.

One would guess hitting his 600th home run would mean Thome is Hall-of-Fame bound. He still has a career on-base percentage over .400, an OPS of .960 and more than 1,500 runs and RBI. Plus, everyone else in the 600-home run club is either in Cooperstown, headed there, or will be left out due to PED suspicion. Thome has never been connected with PEDs.

More Snyder on Thome: Thome's run at 600 deserved more attention | More to Thome than home runs

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com