Twins’ slugger Jim Thome is just five home runs away from becoming just the eighth player in big league history to reach 600 homers and at Major League Baseball’s authentication division, Thome Watch has begun.
Once he hits home run #598, MLB will give the opposing pitchers specially marked baseballs to ensure that the milestone ball will be properly identified.
So what’s it worth should it reach the auction circuit?
Hard to say.
Thome is likeable and popular but to call him a superstar is a bit of a stretch. Even though he’s never been cast under the shadow of steroids, just playing during that era is enough to keep some from buying in. A Hall of Famer? Probably, though maybe not on the first ballot.
Still, he’ll enter some very exclusive company.
All-Time Home Run Leaders
1. Barry Bonds 762
2. Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr. 630
6. Alex Rodriguez 626
7. Sammy Sosa 609
8. Jim Thome 595
9 Frank Robinson 586
10. Mark McGwire 583
Milestone baseball selling prices can vary wildly. Barry Bonds’ 700th home run ball sold for $102,000 a few years ago. Yankee star power means a lot. Alex Rodriguez saw his 500th blast go for $103,579.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th home run ball went for a relative bargain at $42,000 when it was sold in 2008. One wouldn’t think Thome’s blast, should it wind up in the hands of someone who is willing to sell, would bring nearly that much.