Archive for 600 Home Run Club

Celebrating Alex Rodriguez and his impending entry to the 600 HR Club

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , on July 25, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez, but he is no Sammy Sosa.

When Alex Rodriguez bashes his next home run, it will be his 600th. The mark has become synonymous with some of the game’s greats as only six other players have reached the plateau in Major League Baseball.

But while in years past an achievement like this would bring out the red carpet, a visit from Bud Selig and perhaps some sort of celebratory lap around the field and a speech, this time it surely will have a muted tone.

I understand the A-rod bashing. I know people don’t like this guy as a person, and his reputation as being the game’s best player has been sullied by his admission of steroid use.

But there is one fact that rings true, Alex Rodriguez is and always has been a hell of a ball player.

If you look at the list of players who have slugged 600 homers, all but one are mentioned among the game’s greats. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Ken Griffey Jr. are all held in high regard. Yes, even Mr. Bonds, because before he came under the cloud of suspicion, he was a truly talented player who was a Hall of Famer before breaking the single-season and all-time home run records — both of which are now considered tainted.

But the one name on the list that really jumps out at you is that of Sammy Sosa, who was a mediocre ball player until he and Mark McGwire went on their slugging tour of 1998. Sosa then proceeded to hit 60 or more home runs in three out of four seasons. And while that achievement would be considered an amazing feat, it like many other recent happenings, is marked with a proverbial asterisk.

Sosa, in my eyes, has never been regarded as one of the games’ best all-around players. And it is his inclusion on the list of 600 Home Run hitters that casts the biggest shadow.

When A-rod enters this elite club, it will without a doubt come with its share of mixed reaction. But it’s important to remember that A-rod’s legacy is more than that of a half-cocked admission of performance enhancing drug use. Whether you like him or not, he still should be considered among the greatest players the game has ever seen.