Last night Jim Thome notched 7 RBI on the back of a king dong and a tri-tot. 7 ribbies is a career high and the dingers were the 556th & 557th of his long career. About the career: is Jim Thome's superlative career going to be lost in the PED shuffle?
Tom Verducci wrote a highly enjoyable piece for Sports Illustrated in February claiming Carlos Delgado was the "lost slugger of the Steroid Era. While Delgado is indeed overlooked, the very same statement could hold true for Jim Thome. He matches up very well with a player like Delgado as well as a player much more (in)famous than those two combined.
Thome continue putting up excellent Three True Outcome numbers, which could be reason for Thome's relative obscurity. No matter how many times people are told that strike outs are just another out, they still hate the big K numbers. Thome's done it nearly 2300 times in his career. Nevermind his career walk total (1600) exceeds his RBI (1500), his average is low! Using a more "complete" stat like weighted on base average, Thome comes out smelling like a rose with career wOBA of .408.
Thome isn't immune to the stink of PEDs though he's continued to put up excellent numbers and high walk totals. Perhaps Thome's bearlike build and notable charity work combine with his hometown reunion to get him off the drug hook. A strict DH since he returned to the American League; Thome never really resonated as a fielder (did you know he spent the early years of his career as a third baseman? I surely did not.) Thome will tell anyone who'll listen that his career goal is 600 home runs. He'd have to be a Hall of Fame lock at that point, right? Better yet, don't answer that.
AP image courtesy of Daylife.