600 Career Home Runs

In an oddly serendipitous moment earlier today, I learned that Mark McGuire was retiring from his baseball career as I was reviewing this old thread related to major league baseball’s unapproachable records.

Many years ago, I was sure that Mike Schmidt would join Aaron, Ruth and Mays on the far side of 600. He did not.

Four years ago, I was sure that Big Mac would join the 600 career home run club. He did not.

Barry Bonds is close to 600. I guess we’ll have to see.

Ken Griffey, Jr. started hot out of the box early in his career. I guess we’ll have to see.

In short, fellow dopers, many have approached the 600 Mark; only three have crossed that threshold. It is The True Standard for sluggers. While others have met and surpassed other milestones (such as consecutive games played, most career hits, most single season stolen bases, most career stolen bases, 300+ games won by a pitcher, 60 and/or 70+ home runs in a season, etc.), the 600 club has an exclusivity that I, for one, find fascinating.

As for my predictions
Will Bonds reach it? Yes, probably.
Will Griffey the Younger reach it? No. He will not.
Will Sammy Sosa reach it? Definately!! You can take that to the bank!!!

But then again, I said the same about Mike Schmidt.

The game tends to favor hitters these days. And I don’t mean that in a purist way, hitters weight train, use pitching machines to scope pitchers out better and the parks are smaller.

Schmidt and McGwire were both felled by injuries. Hitting 600 home runs requires a lot of luck with respect to health; you can be the best ballplayer on earth, but if the knees or the back go out, well, you’re cooked.

Barry Bonds will almost certainly make it. He’s at 567 and is healthy, so he doesn’t have to play very long to hit #600. He’s an outside shot to beat Aaron at 755.

Sammy Sosa has a very good chance. He’s at 450, is only 32, and is healthy. He just had his best season, so he’s not declining; in fact, he’s getting better, if anything. Unless we see a severe decline in the next two years, I believe he’ll hit 600 barring a major injury.

Ken Griffey is a year younger than Sosa and has ten more homers (460) but unlike Sosa he’s no longer at the top of his game and is hurt a lot. He hit very well towards the end of the year, a good sign. If he’s back from his injury I think he’ll do it. If not, who knows?

Rafael Palmiero has 447 homers, but at 36 his chances are not good. He’s have to be very good into his 40’s. He’ll probably bust 500 but not 600.

Juan Gonzalez rejuventated his career in 2001 and now has 397 bombs at 31. He’s well behind Sosa’s pace and is not the kind of hitter who ages gracefully. 203 more homers is certainly possible, but I would not want to bet on him.

Manny Ramirez is 29 and has 277 circuit clouts, which puts him behind Juan Gonzalez’s pace, unless he suddenly starts hitting them like Slammin’ Sammy. No way he makes it.

Alex Rodriguez has 245 bombs at 25, which puts him way ahead of anyone else’s pace. But shortstops don’t stay healthy as long.
Note that these guys, except for A-Rod, are all outfielders; so were the guys who have hit 600. In fact, Mike Schmidt’s 548 homers is the most by a guy whose primary position wasn’t the outfield or first base. Playing the field is hard on you.

No, no one’s going to get to 600 home runs! Major League contraction will make pitching staffs less diluted, so the recent spate of offense, which is obviously due to quality pitchers being spread amongst too many teams. :rolleyes:

Seriously, Bonds will make it, Sosa won’t…he’ll peter out in the 560’s or 570’s. Griffey only if he can regain his old stroke immediately. Another year or two like this and there’s no way he’ll make it.

Just wanted to point out that Sosa turned 33 yesterday (11/12). Happy birthday, Sammy.

I would add Vladimir Guerrero to the list of 600+ homer hopefuls. According to Bill James’ favorite toy, he’s currently at a 38% chance for 600. He’s also still young enough to bust loose with some 50+ home run seasons, which would up his chances even more.

I have the feeling that in about 20 years will be talking about the exclusive “700-homer” club, and who has the chance of reaching that inner circle…

I don’t think anyone with less than 450 is worth talking about. ARod, Guerrero, Sosa, even Griffey are still too far away to say for sure. Sure if they stay healthy and maintain their pace they can do it, but those are factors you have to use in evaluating. How many other guys seemed like sure shots only to falter?

The only one with a realistic shot is Bonds.