Today, Alex Rodriguez became the seventh player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit 600 home runs. No one outside of New York cared. It is a shame really that this legendary feat became so meaningless. But will it be meaningful again?
The 600 Home Run Club only had one member for over 30 years and that was Babe Ruth. Then Willie Mays and Hank Aaron joined him in the pantheon. For another 30 years no one entered. Then in a matter of 10 years, this millennium has seen the arrival of Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Jr., Sammy Sosa, and now Alex Rodriguez into the club. The biggest shame however will be that only one of the four newest members will make into the Hall of Fame – Ken Griffey, Jr.
Even though MLB has been testing for steroids for over five years, the scandal still continues to rock the league. When I was a kid, 500 home runs was the ticket to Cooperstown. So was 300 wins. Now what will happen in the next few years is those players who were implicated in the scandal via either the Mitchell Report, Jose Canseco, or the Clemens Scandal, will never see Cooperstown unless they buy a ticket.
Think about this – Since 1990, 11 players joined the 500 Home Run Club. So, from 1929 to 1990, only 14 players hit 500 dingers. Then in 20 years, 11 joined. That is an amazing statistic! However, not every one of the new 11 members of the 500 Home Run Club were involved with steroids.
Jim Thome – could be the next to 600. He has always been as we say in Illinois, “Country Strong”.
Frank Thomas – We used to call him F-cubed (Fat “expletive” Frank) back in the early 90s during strat–o-matic games.
Sheffield, Sosa, Palmiero, Bonds, McGwire, ARod, Manny – they are not getting in.
As for other active players – Albert Pujols has not even hit his 400th and he just turned 30. Ryan Howard has been a machine the last five years. He only has 245. The game has changed. And Maybe that’s a good thing. As this summer has gone on, I have enjoyed watching a team like Tampa Bay actually use speed and timely hitting to win games rather than wait for the three run homer ala Earl Weaver.
It is ironic that when MLB promoted “Chicks Dig the Long Ball”, little did they know it would be their undoing. And where will Maddux and Glavine be in five years? Cooperstown, that’s where.