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Former White Sox teammates praise Thomas for historic homer

Nathaniel Whalen
updated: 6/29/2007 4:30 AM

Frank Thomas' historic 500th career homer was barely settled in the Metrodome seats Thursday when he began hearing from his former teammates.


"I called him today and congratulated him," White Sox pitcher Jon Garland said. "Left it on his message. There are only 21 people who have been able to do it. Think of how many people have played the game and how hard it is to hit a home run; it's an impressive feat -- especially since there have never been any rumors or controversy around the guy. He consistently put up good numbers."


Very few of the Sox saw Thomas' homer live, but that didn't diminish the praise for the Toronto Blue Jays DH, who reached the plateau by going deep off Minnesota's Carlos Silva.


"I had just gotten in and they said he did it. That's awesome ... " said Jim Thome, who entered Thursday night's game with 482 career long balls.


"I think it's a great achievement, you know, an accomplishment. There's a special group of guys in there, you know. It's pretty cool. Coming up, I didn't really come up with him, but playing in the same division for years, it's neat to see somebody accomplish that. It's a great feat for sure.''


Thomas hit 448 of his 500 homers during his 16 seasons in a Sox uniform (1990-2005).


"I didn't even see it, but I'm glad for Frank," pitcher Mark Buehrle said. "I liked the guy when he was here. Obviously, getting to 500 home runs is a great feat. I might text him right now and tell him that it took him long enough."


While there might be some who try to diminish reaching the 500-homer mark, saying it was accomplished in an era when offensive numbers are inflated, there wasn't anything of that sort coming from the Sox.


"I can't comprehend -- in my head, I can sit there and see how a guy gets to 300 or 400, but 500? Just, physically speaking, it doesn't seem possible," Paul Konerko said last month in anticipation of seeing Thomas for the first time this season. "It just blows me away. It seems so hard to be that good for that long.


"Anybody who hits 500 should be in the Hall of Fame. There's talk about it's lesser than it used to be and all that kind of stuff," Konerko added, laughing. "That's ridiculous. It's every bit as much to me. It's just as big of a deal as it used to be."


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