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Updated: September 4th, 2010 4:11pm
Jim Thome, humbled by 2010 success, passes Mark McGwire on HR list

Jim Thome, humbled by 2010 success, passes Mark McGwire on HR list

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jim Thome is 40 years old.

And he's still really good at baseball.

With a 449-foot, upper-deck moonshot in the third inning on Saturday, Jim Thome tied Mark McGwire for ninth-place on the all-time home run list with 583 blasts.

One inning later, Thome belted a three-run shot to the bullpen in left -- the 584th of his career, passing Big Mac.

Both home runs came off Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.

Thome is now two home runs behind Frank Robinson (586) for eighth, and 20 behind Alex Rodriguez (604) for seventh.

Thome has 20 home runs on the season to go along with a .270/.394/.603 hitting line. Since 1994, Thome has hit at least 20 home runs in every season but 2002 -- an injury-plagued season that saw him hit only seven.

Thome also has 46 career multi-homer games. His other two-homer game this season came on July 3 at Target Field, when he caught and passed Harmon Killebrew for 10th on the all-time list.

When asked if he thought it was possible to have such a successful season, Thome said, "I didn't know, to be honest. I didn't know."

"Because when I went to L.A. last September, I was a pinch hitter. I had left the White Sox, went there, I was a pinch hitter, and when I wasn't getting any calls this winter, I really didn't know. When the Twins had called, I knew about their club, and I knew they had Kubel. I knew they had Jason, and without any expectations, I just wanted to be healthy. I think that was the main thing, just try to be diligent with my back program and make sure that I stayed on top of that, and if I played, great.

"If you look at the path, I think you look at it and you go, 'Man, it would have been nice to do, say, what you have done in the past,' but the bottom line is I don't play every day any more. So the expectations, I never really put any out there."

Despite suffering through some hip and back soreness as of late, Thome has stayed relatively healthy all season. His four plate appearances on Saturday give him 289 for the season. He will likely finish with around 350, which isn't far off from what the Twins envisioned.

"He never ceases to amaze us," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He just keeps going up there and whacking the ball. It's Babe Ruth all over again."

The way Thome is hitting at age 40, maybe he can stick around and give Ruth's 714 a run for its money.

"No," Thome said. "No, I don't think so. I think I'll be fishing by then."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Jim Thome
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