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August 16th, 2011

600 Home Runs Without Steroids

Something incredible took place last night – and chances are you missed it. Unless you live in Minneapolis, chances are it was barely mentioned in your hometown newspaper – if at all.

I’ll tell you more about this event in a minute, but first, last August, the media was fixated on WHEN Alex Rodriguez, aka A-Rod, aka A-Roid, was going to hit his 600th home run.

I attended a Rays v. Yankees game when A-Rod still had 599.

He didn’t start the game, so when he came up to pinch-hit in the 7th inning, the crowd went nuts – hoping, cheering and snapping photos of what they hoped would be numero 600.

To no avail.

Fans would have to wait until August 4, when A-Rod smacked his 600th on the anniversary of his 500th, at Yankee Stadium.

Now, I give A-Rod a lot of credit. He’s a great ball player. I just don’t like the fact that he hasn’t gotten where he is today without performance-enhancing drugs.

Be that as it may, the big story that you may have missed is this: Last night, a non-steroid user hit his 599th and 600th home runs in the same game.

Derek Jeter went 5-5 on the way to getting 3000 hits. But 28 people have 3000 hits. Only 8 have at least 600 bombs. And of the eight with 600 or more homers – only four did it without the use of steroids.

Hmmm. Is there a story here? I think so.

Jim Thome, 39, of the Minnesota Twins, became the 4th person in MLB history to hit 600 home runs without steroids. The others in MLB history to do so are: Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660).

And where was the media coverage on this feat over the last month?

There was so little about this athletic feat it was sad. Truly sad.

Where’s the media coverage today – not to mention last night?

When compared to A-Rod, it’s practically nil.

Now, here’s another part of the story that most in the media will never know. Ask A-Rod for an autograph and chances are you will never get one. He’ll walk right past you and pretend you don’t exist.

What about Jim Thome?

Well, look at the ball he personalized to my son, Frank, and I think you’ll get a very clear picture of who Mr. Thome is, not as a ball player, but as a human being.

Jim Thome – congratulations on your magnificent achievement and an outstanding career. What you have done is truly awesome.

And thank you, thank you, thank you for the ball you signed for my son. We will treasure it forever.

Keep kicking butt and taking names. Also, look for a signed copy of Expect to Win – Hate to Lose – coming your way.

Matt Furey

P.S. I’ll be launching Expect to Win – Hate to Lose within a couple days, along with some other goodies. Get ready. It’s going to be out of sight.

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