Jim Thome ruined the Twins’ plans to have him reach 600 career home runs at Target Field by being too damn good, hitting his 599th and 600th homers Monday night in Detroit and then delivering No. 601 against the Tigers two nights later.
Thome has been deserving of the Hall of Fame for years already, but hopefully becoming the eighth member of the 600-homer club will ensure his place in Cooperstown.
With the way he’s hitting, though, that can probably wait. Thome hasn’t been able to duplicate his ridiculous 2010 numbers, but he’s having one of the greatest seasons in baseball history by a 40-year-old.
In fact, last season his .283/.412/.627 line added up to the fourth-highest adjusted OPS+ of all time by a 39-year-old and this season his .259/.365/.513 line would be tied for the fourth-highest adjusted OPS+ from a 40-year-old. Here are the age-39 and age-40 leaderboards for adjusted OPS+:
AGE 39 YEAR PA OPS+ AGE 40 YEAR PA OPS+
Barry Bonds 2004 617 263 Willie Mays 1971 537 158
Ted Williams 1958 517 179 Carlton Fisk 1988 298 155
Hank Aaron 1973 465 177 Edgar Martinez 2003 603 141
JIM THOME 2010 279 161 JIM THOME 2011 226 139
Babe Ruth 1934 471 161 Dave Winfield 1992 670 137
If you’re curious, here’s the adjusted OPS+ leaderboard among 41-year-olds:
AGE 41 YEAR PA OPS+
Ted Williams 1960 390 190
Barry Bonds 2006 493 156
Brian Downing 1992 391 138
Stan Musial 1962 505 137
Carlton Fisk 1989 419 136
I’d love to see Thome take a run at that list in 2012 for the Twins and even in a part-time role he’d move past Sammy Sosa for seventh place on the homer list. My favorite stat: Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds are the only hitters in baseball history with more homers and more walks than Thome.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.