Thome continues all-time climb

Thome continues all-time climb

Posted by scotgreg on Sun, 05/11/2008 - 00:04
Here's a heads-up to fans planning on catching the White Sox in person this season. If you happen to be sitting in the outfield and come up with one of Jim Thome's home-run balls, hang on to it. Since he's climbing up the all-time leaderboard _ the 37-year-old DH hit career home run No. 514 against Seattle Friday night _ Thome is offering autographed items to the fans who catch the balls. Just don't get carried away. The fan that came up with his home-run ball Friday wanted an autographed bat, but Thome got the exchange done with a signed baseball and signed batting gloves. With 514 homers, Thome ranks 19th in major-league history. Frank Thomas, somehwat ironically, is No. 18 with 516. Thome doesn't have all of the home-run balls he's ever hit, but he does have quite a few of the more meaningful ones. The future Hall of Famer has the ball from his first homer, which came off Steve Farr at Yankeee Stadium in 1991. Thome said one of the toughest balls he ever got was the 51st home run he hit for the Cleveland Indians in 2002. That tied Albert Belle for the most in a season. "I remember I had to sign a bat, a jersey, some other things, too,'' Thome said. When he hit his 52nd home run for the Indians to set the club record, Thome had no trouble getting the ball. "Two old ladies had it, and all they wanted was a hug,'' Thome said with a laugh. As he continues the ascension, Thome is looking forward to catching up to Mickey Mantle, who is 13th all-time with 536 home runs. "That would be very special,'' Thome said. "Mickey Mantle is who my dad always followed and talked about, Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams.'' Williams is tied for 16th on baseball's home-run list with 521.
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