Friday, August 19, 2011

Joe Nathan & Jim Thome Reach Milestones

          Over the last week, there have been a few Twins items to note. First thing that might come to mind is the fact that Delmon Young was traded to the Detroit Tigers on August 15th. Don't get me wrong, that is important news as many Twins fans were happy the Twins got rid of Delmon, but during that same night, something happened at Comerica Park in Detroit.
          Sitting at 598 career home runs, Jim Thome stepped to the plate in the 6th inning and hit a 2-run homer to left field. Ironic that former Twin, Delmon Young was making his first start as a Tiger and watched 599 go over the fence? I don't think so. Just wait, it gets better. In the top of the 7th inning, Jim stepped up to the plate again. this time with two runners on base. On a 2-1 count, with Daniel Schlereth pitching, Jim launched historic home run number 600 to the same spot, left field.
          Immediately following the home run, Twins fans and Tigers fans all stood and gave Jim a well deserved standing ovation. Then from behind home plate, Jim's father, wife and two children came out to have a family moment after the historic feat. Jim is only the eighth player in Major League Baseball to eclipse the 600 home run mark. That number really should be five with Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and Barry Bonds on that list, but that's not important at the moment.
          When showing the replay of the 600th homerun, I couldn't help but notice who was holding the ball, which landed in the Twins bullpen, which was none other than closer Joe Nathan. Joe also reached a very big milestone just a few days before Jim reached his. Joe Nathan became the Twins All-Times saves leader at 255 career saves as a Minnesota Twin. I actually had the opportunity to go to the August 10th game against the Boston Red Sox when Joe picked up his 255th career save as a Minnesota Twin.
          After being acquired in a trade after the 2003 season, Joe quickly became one of the best closers from 2004-2009, racking up a league-leading 246 saves during that span. Without Joe, the Twins probably would not have been able to win the four division titles since acquiring Joe. The Twins will have a very important decision to make following the 2011 season as Joe has a 12.5 million dollar team option that would need to be exercised in order to be a Twin in 2012.
          In my opinion, it is a no brainer to pick up the option and even look to extend Nathan for two or three more years to allow him to retire as a Minnesota Twin. So, despite the Twins having a challenging year with so many injuries and very inconsistent play, this has been an exciting few days for the Minnesota Twins and Twin Nation.