It seems like a silly discussion, since only seven others have done what the big, friendly farm boy did on Monday night.
But the question has been raised repeatedly this season, and not just by the culls and rejects who support so much of what passes for talk radio in this town, but by serious sports people.
But the issue — also raised about pitcher Don Sutton and shortstop/outfielder Robin Yount — comes down to spectacular vs. consistent.
And not everyone values the consistency of a guy like Thome or Yount.
Let’s not kid ourselves: we’re not talking about Ruth or Mays or Aaron or Williams here. Those were guys who combined historic home run totals with .300 plus batting averages. All could have won a Triple Crown in their careers. Williams, in fact, won two.
Thome was a one-dimensional slugger, much more like another Minnesota icon, Harmon Killebrew. He hit home runs. He wasn’t a slick fielder, an guy who compiled a gaudy batting average or one who set the world on its ear with a headline-grabbing assault on 60 home runs or a .400 batting average.
But like Killebrew — who held the record for home runs by an infielder until Alex Rodriguez went past him this season — Thome did his thing so well and for so long he deserves enshrinement.
He brought honor to his game.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop didn’t get to join his teammates at the White House on Friday because he left his ID at home.
Bishop said he was sure he had his wallet when he got on the team bus bound for the White House as the Packers prepared to make their lockout-delayed visit.
But when the White House security staff began checking IDs, Bishop suddenly realized he didn’t have his. The security detail wasn’t willing to make an exception to let him in without identification, so he had to stay on the team bus.
Asked what he did while his Super Bowl champion teammates were meeting President Obama, Bishop said he “took a nap.”
HE SHOULD'A GONE FOR IT! Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez told GQ magazine he “wanted to fight” loud-mouthed coach Rex Ryan after the coach openly considered benching him after a tough stretch last season.
Ryan wanted to give backup Mark Brunell extra snaps during practice after Sanchez’s poor performance in a loss to Miami. But, Sanchez told the magazine he pushed Brunell away when he walked into the huddle. When offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told him Ryan wanted Brunell to take snaps, Sanchez responded: “He can come tell me.”
Ryan didn’t, Sanchez remained in the starting lineup, and the Jets went to the AFC championship game.
BUSTS IN BUFFALO. Mike Williams, J.P. Losman, John McCargo and now Aaron Maybin. All share two experiences — being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills; and being cut after a few seasons of disappointing play.
In the case of Maybin, it took only two seasons to turn into a bust. The Bills waived the linebacker on Monday. The move was no surprise. As far back as January, coach Chan Gailey had described Maybin’s status as “tenuous.”
Selected 11th overall out of Penn State in the 2009 draft, Maybin never even broke into the starting lineup or registered a single sack.
FAST FACT. Since becoming the Packers’ starter in 2008, Aaron Rodgers' average season has included 4,130 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. And one Lombardi Trophy.
THAT KICKOFF RULE. The big flap after the first week of preseason games has been the move of kickoffs from the 30-yard line up to the 35, which resulted in a touchback more than one third of the time.
Fans bewail the reduction of one of the game’s most exciting plays — the potential for a long, game-changing return — but the rule is there for a reason.
Rich McKay, chairman of the NFL’s Competition Committee, told SI.com: "Membership didn't vote on this because it was a game enhancement. They voted for it because of player safety.”
But let’s look on the bright side: when a team trails late in a game it almost certainly will tell its top returners to bring the ball back out of the end zone. If you have DeSean Jackson or Devin Hester on your team, you can take the shot at the home run in the closing minutes.
And THAT will be immensely exciting!
QUOTE OF THE DAY. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan on the absense of third year running back James Davis from the morning practice: “If you see him, let me know, because I’m wondering where he was at, too.”
Contact Don McKee at firstname.lastname@example.org