The Power Struggle – A Salute To Jim Thome

By Jeremy Sickel

Geoff Ratliff, Editor

On Monday Jim Thome became one of only five players to hit his 600th home run without ever having his name negatively coupled with performance enhancing drugs, joining the likes of Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Ken Griffey Jr.

The steroid era turned 500 home runs, once believed to be sacred territory, into a mere stepping stone towards building a Hall of Fame resume. Players such as Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark Mcgwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield turned a stat that was once a “Golden Ticket” to Cooperstown, into a question of whether or not one is worthy. The jury is still out on Alex Rodriguez.

So 600 is the new 500, thus cementing Thome’s status as one of the greatest pure power hitters of all time and earning him a well-deserved place in the Hall of Fame. The road to enshrinement is much tougher for the current generation of baseball’s power elite, but what does this mean for the players who’s careers have ended and are no longer able to add to the backs of their baseball cards?

It means that Frank Thomas (521 HR), Fred Mcgriff (493), Carlos Delgado (473) and Jeff Bagwell (449) are that much further away from their busts being etched in bronze. All four players are believed to have been “clean”, and took the same selfless approach that Thome has since his arrival in Cleveland in 1991.  This mere fact makes it imperative that Jim Thome not only be congratulated as a player but admired as a man.

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