With two home runs last night against the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twin Jim Thome became the eighth ballplayer ever to hit 600 out of the park. Perhaps most remarkable about this feat is that he achieved it without steroids—unlike many of the other top sluggers of his era, writes Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated. Indeed, “Gentleman Jim” has “so mastered humility that he has lasted all these years through the thorniest era in baseball history with nary a whiff of controversy or negativity.”
Thome played during “the height of The Steroid Era,” from 1995 to 2003, Verducci notes. All of the top seven home run hitters from the period have been linked to steroids except Thome. Though he’s the eighth to join the 600 home run club, he’s the fifth to achieve that distinction steroid-free. “The strongest thing I put into my body is steak and eggs. I just eat. I'm not a supplement guy. Steroids are not even a thought,” he once told SI. On top of that, a players’ poll labeled Thome the “nicest guy in the game.” So who will be next to join the 600 home run club?