Thome Nears 500; Ready to Deal on Home Run Ball

Jim Thome stands just two homers from reaching 500. He knows the milestone ball has value on the open market and he’s hoping to strike a deal should the ball fall into a fan’s lap.

Jim Thome has quietly ascended the home run pecking order. The popular White Sox veteran has been trying to get retrieve the home run balls leading to 500, often swapping autographed memorabilia for them.

While Thome’s 497th home run ball may be worth more to him than it would on the open market, he knows it may not be easy to get #500 back if it winds up in the hands of an average fan. He’s hoping to win over the lucky fan who might catch it with a pledge.

"Hopefully if we’re lucky enough to get it back, my father and I are going to donate it to the Hall of Fame," Thome told reporters in Chicago recently. "That’s something that was important to me for the history of the game, for my dad as well to be a part of."

Thome says he won’t wait for the Hall to come to him either. He’s planning to present the ball in person.

"Hey, that’s great," said Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "I think that’s great for baseball. I think it’s great for people to get a chance to see something out there when they visit."

Thome and the team’s clubhouse manager have already been pondering what it might take to get it back. ”We have a few ideas on things to offer,” a smiling Thome said.

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