A Dying Breed
August 16, 2011 33 Comments
Jim Thome is, as of right now, the last great of a dying breed.
If you’re sitting in front of your computer guessing, it isn’t the exclusive 600 home run club that Albert Pujols will be a part of in no time.
Thome is the last great of a breed that used to be restricted to a special few until science got involved. Thome was blessed with this God-given gift until science got involved.
Jim Thome is the last great of the true home run hitters breed. He is the last great of a group who hit the ball that the chicks dig. When you think of the Jim Thome’s of the world there is no initial thought that crosses your mind other than ‘home run.’
Albert Pujols hits home runs but he is Mr. Consistency. The man without a hole in his swing. A player who hovers around the 200 hit plateau each and every season. When you think Albert Pujols, you might think greatest player in baseball.
Adam Dunn is the birth defect version of Jim Thome. The big lug who swings for the stars and hits bombs as high as the stars. The strikeouts are forgotten when these big men connect because they are what make baseball so special.
As the steroid era dies so does this extraordinary breed of home run hitters. Jim Thome would have been more appreciated if not for the massive influx of hitters who could hit the ball into McCovey Cove. To the best of our knowledge, Jim Thome was all-natural in his home run hitting.
If you take a look at the home run leaders for the 2011 season you won’t find anyone as great as Jim Thome in terms of his breed.
Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard. When all is said and done, these guys won’t measure up to what Jim Thome has done in his career. Prince Fielder won’t hit 25 home runs in limited at bats at the age of 39. Ryan Howard is going to be 32 years old in November and hasn’t even reached 300 home runs. They were bred like Jim Thome but will never duplicate what he has done.
Jim Thome’s don’t come along every decade. Major League Baseball only has 5 true players who have hit over 600 home runs in over 130 years of baseball.
Jim Thome’s consistent and realistic decline as a player is the indisputable sign of a pure bred home run hitter. In a 12 year span from 1996-2008 Jim Thome only reached 50 home runs in a season once but he was never below the 30 big fly mark.
In the coming years we will come to appreciate Jim Thome for the player he was. The rarer the flower the sweeter it is will be a phrase that will go hand in hand with his legacy.
The home run hitter’s breed will never die but there is no doubt that it has once again become endangered.
Major League Baseball won’t go without another great home run hitter in the future but with steroid’s being a thing of the past the odds are that it might be a little while before we see another as good as Jim Thome.
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