Friday Hitting Stars: Thome, Pujols
Jim Thome hit a three run homer in the fifth inning and then hit a grand slam the next inning to lead the White Sox to a 12-8 win over the Orioles.
Thome who will be 39 next month also had a career high seven runs batted in during the contest. His 15th and 16th homers of the season helped him move to within six homers of tying Reggie Jackson for 12th on the alltime homer list with 557 homers. He needs 12 homers to tie Rafael Palmeiro for 11th on the career list.
Thome’s seven RBI game enabled him to pass Harry Heilmann and Willie Stargell on the career RBI list. His 1545 runs batted in place him 41st on the alltime list.
He needs 51 RBI’s to pass Hall of Famers Willie McCovey 1555, Jake Beckley 1575, Al Kaline 1583, Harmon Killebrew and Rogers Hornsby 1584, Mike Schmidt and George Brett 1595. He would move to 32nd on the alltime list if he passes these players this season and others who are not Hall of Famers.
Ken Griffey Jr. 1798, Manny Ramirez 1754, Gary Sheffield 1669 and Alex Rodriguez 1656 are the only active players with more RBI’s than Thome.
He only has 2106 career hits which is 203rd on the career list could hurt his Hall of Fame chances but his power numbers still should gain him entrance into the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He needs only 43 homers to join the very exclusive 600 home run club which presently only has five members but Alex Rodriguez needs only 30 homers to join the club with Thome being in line to be the seventh member of the 600 Homers Club.
His most negative statistic is that he is third on the alltime strikeouts list with 2261 strikeouts. The only players to have struck out more often are Reggie Jackson with 2597 strikeouts and Sammy Sosa with 2306 strikeouts. It is almost a certainty that he will move into second place ahead of Sosa later this season or early next season.
Jim Thome should not make any other plans for July of 2016 since he should be busy making a speech in Cooperstown, New York that month.
Pujols Homers Twice For Eighth Time
Albert Pujols hit his 33rd and 34th homers of the 2009 season as the Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 6-1 on a cool 76 degree night in St. Louis.
He drove in two runs moving his season total to 89. A comparison with last seasons total of 37 homers and 116 RBI’s shows how remarkable this season has been for Pujols.
The Cardinals have 70 games remaining on their 2009 schedule which means if he averages four at bats a game he will have 280 more chances to add to those numbers for this season. He only needs three homers and 27 RBI’s to match the numbers of last season.
Even when Pujols is walked intentionally good things can happen as it did last night when he was walked intentionally and Ryan Ludwick batting behind him hit a two run single.
He is hitting .334 which is only 13 points behind the NL leader Hanley Ramirez who is hitting .347. If he is able to pass Ramirez he would have a chance to win the NL Triple Crown. He is ten homers ahead of Adrian Gonzalez for the NL home run lead but is only eight RBI’s ahead of Prince Fielder with Pujols having 89 RBI’s with Fielder having 81.
Pujols leads the majors in on base percentage with a .458 mark, in slugging with a .740 slugging percentage. Raul Ibanez is 71 points behind Pujols in second place in slugging with a .669 mark and Pujols also leads in OPS with a 1.197 percentage.
Two future Hall of Famers Jim Thome and Albert Pujols showed last night why they will be enshrined someday in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Thome will probably have an Indians cap on his plaque while Pujols should go in with a Cardinals cap unless he plays longer for another team if the Cardinals don’t re-sign him when his present contract expires.