Last night Jim Thome, recently acquired by Baltimore, made history, breaking a record previously held by Barry Bonds. Before that this record belonged to Reggie Jackson, and before that, to Babe Ruth. That is impressive company for any man to keep, yet no one seems to have noticed this momentous occasion. Perhaps that’s because it happened after most of the country was in bed, or perhaps (and more likely) it’s because no one but me was paying any attention to this particular bit of baseball history. But whether anyone but me knew it or not, Jim Thome became baseball’s all-time “three true outcomes” leader.
The three true outcomes for any plate appearance are the strikeout, the walk, and the home run. They are the possible outcomes that involve only the hitter and pitcher (give or take a catcher to throw the ball back). The term was coined during the 1980s in reference to seemingly every appearance by Rob Deer going one of those three ways.
Thome has also had a knack for all three of the outcomes during his career, he is currently 2nd all-time in strikeouts, 7th in walks, and tied for 7th in home runs. Add his totals up, and as I said, he is #1…
[Adam] Dunn or Mark Reynolds could each pass Branyan’s percentage someday… Today though, let us celebrate Jim Thome. Long live the king.