Jim Thome, now of the Minnesota Twins, is four dingers away from 600 home runs as I write this blog.
Why is this significant? When he reaches this milestone he will be only the eighth baseball player in history to do so.
The others are Barry Bonds , Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr. Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriquez.
Having emerged from the steroid era, asterisks need to be put beside the names of Bonds, Sosa and Rodriquez. I doubt that any of those three will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rodriquez, however, is the only one of the three to admit to using performance enhancing drugs.
Thome, therefore, is only one of five players to achieve this milestone without any science lab help.
Does this milestone make Thome a Hall of Famer? Without question.
The steroid era has left a indelible mark. For every accomplishment, milestone going forward there will always be questions and doubters as to was he clean.
Thome has always appeared farmer boy clean and has been nothing but class throughout his career. Still, there are those who will question, who will doubt.
Can we blame them?
We can thank the steroid era for that.