Joe Posnanski » Posts Thome «

Thome became the eighth major league player to reach 600 homers. (AP) The home run lists used to be filled with genial men — Harmon Killebrew, Ernie Banks, Frank Howard, Dale Murphy, Bill Beltin’ Melton, Hank Greenberg, on and on. Johnny Bench sang in night clubs. Jimmie Foxx was so admired and beloved, he wasn’t hit by a single pitch the year he hit 58 homers. George Foster didn’t smoke or drink, and later in life has longed to get on Dancing with the Stars. Big Klu — Ted Kluszewski — wore his sleeves rolled up to show off his arms and make a fist, smile, and say: “You know what that is? A Polish joke stopper.” They called Willie Stargell “Pops.” They called George Scott “”Boomer.” They called Jimmy Wynn “The Toy Cannon.”This is not to say that there were no surly home run hitters — of course there were, feared men, Jim Rice and Ralph Kiner and Dick Allen and Dave Kingman and many others. But, surprisingly often, those powerful home run hitters were lovable lugs. The home run itself was childlike fun, constantly surprising, overwhelming to the senses, not unlike cotton candy or a Jack in the Box.

Add comment

Signin or Signup to comment