Jim Thome passes Mark McGwire for ninth place on all-time home-run list

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Jim Thome has connected for a pair of home runs during this afternoon’s game against the Rangers, passing Mark McGwire for ninth place on baseball’s all-time home run list. He slugged No. 583 in the third inning and No. 584 — a three-run shot — in the fourth.

Incredibly, the 40-year-old Thome now has 20 homers in just 279 at-bats this season. The fourth-inning blast marked the 16th time in his career that the veteran slugger has reached at least 20 home runs in a season. Hank Aaron holds the all-time mark with 20 seasons of 20-plus homers. Thome is the first 40-something to reach 20 homers since Barry Bonds did it at age 42 during the 2007 campaign.

Thome doesn’t have enough at-bats to qualify, but if he did, he would be fourth in the American League with a 996 OPS right now. Pretty darn impressive. Even more so when you realize that only Barry Bonds and Ted Williams have posted a higher OPS in a single season after turning 40 years old.

With McGwire out of the way, Thome will now set his sights on Frank Robinson, who ranks eighth all-time with 586 home runs. At this rate, he’ll probably pass him by the end of the weekend.