Jim Thome of the Minnesota Twins became only the 8th Major League Baseball player to amass 600 home runs when he hit two in a 9-6 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Thome, 40, hit his 599th career homer, a two-run blast to left-center field, off Detroit’s Rick Porcello in the sixth inning, in his third at-bat.
It travelled an estimated 412 feet and gave the Twins a 5-3 lead.
He came to the plate again in the seventh and knocked a 2-1 pitch from Daniel Schlereth over the left field fence for a three-run homer, circling the bases as fans in Detroit gave him a standing ovation.
It appeared that Detroit left fielder Delmon Young might have a chance to make a play on the ball.
But Young, who was traded from Minnesota to Detroit earlier in the day, could only watch the ball go into the Tigers bullpen.
The Detroit scoreboard lit up with a message congratulating Thome on the feat and his teammates came out to meet him at home plate.
Of the eight major league players to reach 600 homers in a career, the most recent was Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, on August 4, 2010.
Thome, who has battled injuries during a difficult season for the Twins, has toiled toward the milestone with relatively little fanfare.
He joined an elite group that includes Rodriguez, who currently has 626 homers, record-holder Barry Bonds with 762, Hank Aaron with 755, Babe Ruth with 714, Willie Mays with 660, Ken Griffey Jr with 630 and Sammy Sosa with 609.
Thome became the oldest player to hit a 600th career homer. Sosa previously held that mark at 38 years, 220 days, reaching the milestone in 2007.
Since he joined the Twins before last season, Thome has been popular with fans and teammates.
He hit 25 home runs last season in just 276 at-bats.
This season has been more difficult, as Thome battled injuries to his toe, oblique and quadriceps.
His milestone homer was just his 11th of the season in his 185th at-bat.
Thome’s last previous homer before Monday was on August 4. He has hit at least 20 home runs in 17 of his past 18 seasons, the only exception coming in 2005, when he played just 59 games for Philadelphia and hit seven homers.
He was rejuvenated by a move to the White Sox, and hit 42 home runs in 2006.