Biggio feat topped Thomas

    History was made around the middle of the afternoon last Thursday, some five hours down the road in Minneapolis, when Frank Thomas, the “Big Hurt” himself, deposited a ball in the seats for the 500th time of his career.
    It was an achievement predicted by many recently—Thomas hit his first dinger in Minneapolis, and 48 in between his first and last there.
    His hitting 500 career home runs had been predicted long, long before that, though—when he was just a young man in the early ’90s making a name for himself with the Chicago White Sox, appearing in the movie “Mr. Baseball” and so forth.
    Thomas was ejected later in the game—an 8-5 Toronto loss—for arguing with an umpire over the strike zone (it should be noted that arguing over balls and strikes warrants an automatic ejection).
    But the more heartwarming—and somewhat less reported—milestone story came that same evening much further south.
    Craig Biggio hit the 3,000 mark for hits in a game against the Colorado Rockies—and did so with an RBI single in which his Houston Astros were down 1-0 in the seventh inning.
    He also went 5 for 6, seeming absolutely inspired for a ball player currently hitting .250 on the season.
    The game took 11 innings to be decided (Colorado’s impressive rookie second baseman, Troy Tulowitzki, was one of the big reasons) but Houston walked away with an 8-5 victory.
    For what it’s worth, Thomas belongs to a somewhat more exclusive club, having become just the 21st player to reach 500 home runs to Biggio’s 27th mark in reaching 3,000 hits.
    Although in all fairness to those figures, Alex Rodriguez, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez all are past the 480 mark and all could reasonably be expected to reach the magic number this season.
    What’s somewhat more impressive a number is that every hit of Biggio’s major-league career came in an Astros’ uniform. That makes him only the ninth player to notch 3,000 hits with one club.
    The comparison is a clear reminder that, as great as it is for Jays’ fans to get to celebrate a milestone like this, it’s heartbreaking that the “Big Hurt” didn’t do it in a White Sox jersey.
    Thomas spent his career from his rookie year in 1990 to mid-season 2005—excommunicated from the club and missing a World Series championship with the Sox, a team he personified for well over a decade.
    Were it not for the falling out between Thomas and the Sox, he’d have joined an elite group of five players to hit more than 500 homers with just one club—one that hasn’t been cracked since Mike Schmidt just over 20 years ago.
    Instead, the day goes to Biggio.
    In an age when professional athletes spending a 20-year career with one team has become nearly unthinkable, the converted catcher, who began his career with none of the hype of Thomas, has moved beyond his goofy most hit-by-pitch record and into the ranks of future Hall-of-Famers.

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