There were many people who were happy to be part of the game as Jim Thome rounded third base and headed home following his 600th home run, but none more than his family and teammates.
The entire Twins team and Thome’s family were at home plate waiting up for the slugger to handle the plate so they could praise him.
The first player to praise Thome at home, Michael Cuddyer said, “It was awesome, it was absolutely incredible. You’re just happy for him, and his family, his wife and his dad, everybody. Just everybody who makes Jim Thome who he is. So it’s a very special day for him.”
The possibility of No. 600 happening Monday night became real after hitting No. 599 earlier in the night. Justin Morneau, who was standing on first base, informed Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera that if Tigers pitcher Daniel Schlereth left a curveball up, Thome would hit it out. It was a low curveball, but Thome sent it into the bullpen in left field anyway.
Morneau said, “It was awesome, as soon as he hit it, I thought it was gone especially with the way the ball was carrying out there. I think I fist-pumped around second, it was exciting, and I think he fist-pumped coming around first. It was a big home run, and a game-winner and everything that goes along with it, to make it more special.”
Thome made a decision to re-sign with the Twins for this year and with 600 in reach, it was special to Twins players and coaches for Thome to make history in a Minnesota uniform.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said, “For us, it makes it extra special, and for Jim also, he’s a guy who has done a lot for a lot of different teams, and obviously for us, and has won us some ballgames. So we kind of expect that out him, and he didn’t let us down.”
All the Twins players were happy for Thome, not just because of the history, but because of how good of a teammate he has been to them over the past year and a half.
Jason Kubel said, “He’s the nicest guy I know and the best teammate, he’s been around for quite a while now. So I’m always trying to pick his brain and figure things out like what to expect on certain pitchers or situation s to see what he’d do. So these two years have been a lot of fun with him on our team.”
Thome, when asked regarding the Hall of Fame, was pleased by the thought, but said it was not up to him. To Twins players, however, there is no doubt Thome fits in Cooperstown.
Cuddyer said, “Baseball history is a major reason, but really it’s more because of the person he is and the teammate is why we’re so happy, he cares so much about his teammates and that’s why we care so much about him. This moment, and this achievement, deserves to be talked about for a long time.”