Before we continue on, part one in our exercise of love can be found here. Now then:
6. Jim Thome’s 600th
(photo via Weeks101)
There are two things that baseball fans love: one are tiny, gritty players who struggle to hit the ball out of the infield and who constantly dive around in the dirt. The other are big beefy players with forearms the size of melon-swallowing pythons who can, no joke, seriously, hit the ball to the moon. Thome, despite his overwhelming kindness and likability, remains firmly in the second class.
With his socks pulled high and a quality of pants-blousing that belongs to another era, Thome finally surpassed the 600 home run mark on August 15th as a member of the Twins. It’s a fitting benchmark for the beef-fed Midwestern giant who is the baseball equivalent of Paul Bunyan, traveling from city to city to chop down trees and knock out dingers. In deference to his immense and frightening smile, the Twins even shipped Thome back to Cleveland for what was thought to be a victory lap, but Thome has decided for one more go around. He’s signed on with the Phillies to reminisce the early 2000s like when garage rock was king and That 80s Show was bound to be a hit.
Though there’s no DH in the NL, perhaps Thome can add some stretching to his pre-game routine and play third base regularly for the first time since 1996, one game last year excluded:
(screen grab by Jeff Sullivan)
5. Casey McGehee Keeps His Promise
(Photo by EC_Mike)
McGehee’s run as the Brewer’s third baseman may have ended after the acquisition of Jerry Hairston, but he still managed one of the most touching moments in 2011. Schmaltzy movies always see a famed slugger promise to knock out a home run for a sick child, but the former gold prospector did those films three times better. After meeting Clatyon Wollner, an 8-year-old with Craniosynostosis, he was asked to hit a home run, which McGehee bargained it down to “not screwing anything up.” Once the game started though, McGehee caught fire, blasting three home runs against the Cardinals on August 3rd. It was strange timing for McGehee who came into the game with only five home runs on the season, making the feat only more impressive.