When Albert Pujols slugged his 499th and 500th home runs the other night at Washington, he became the 51st player in history to reach that magic figure that in most cases guarantees a player a spot in the Hall of Fame. Packers Jordy Nelson Camo Jersey
. I dont consider myself to be that old, but I was amazed when I looked at the all-time home run list and realized I had seen 47 of the 51, either in person or on live TV. The ones I wasnt born early enough to see included Mel Ott, number 23 on the list with 511, number 18 Ted Williams at 521, number 17 Jimmie Foxx at 534 and of course the immortal Babe Ruth at number 3 with 714. Of those four, I was even fortunate enough to have seen Williams in person when he and Joe DiMaggio appeared at the 1991 All-Star Game in Toronto. I guess my point is home run hitting beyond a select few didnt really begin to take off until the likes of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider took centre stage in the 1950s and then took another quantum leap in the steroid era that began in the late 80s. Two of the greatest hitters of all-time, Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, hit 103 and 101 home runs respectively in careers that lasted over 20 years apiece. Funny that Wally Pipp, the man Lou Gehrig replaced at first base with the Yankees, hit 90 homers in the Majors. Gehrig, who set the longest consecutive games played streak (until it was surpassed by Cal Ripken Jr.) went on to hit 493 home runs. Pujols was the first player in five years to reach the 500 figure and that made me wonder, who might be next? Then I wondered if Pujols could possibly be the last. I wont likely live long enough to answer that question, but there are still a couple of players who have a shot in the next two or three years if they stick around that long. Adam Dunn, the White Sox prodigious slugger, should reach 500. Hes only 34 and just hit his 445th homer, a monster shot over the scoreboard at Comerica Park this week. Dunn made noises about retiring last season, when the White Sox kept piling up loss after loss. But Chicagos decent start this year and the lure of 500 will probably keep him around for a couple of more seasons. David Ortiz, the face of the Red Sox, is four years older at 38, but he only needs 65 more dingers to reach 500. Hes got a shot. The next group of three falls into the unlikely category. Clevelands Jason Giambi has 438 homers, but hes 43 years old. Dunns White Sox teammate Paul Konerko has 434 but isnt playing much these days and intends to retire at the end of the season. The Yankees Alfonso Soriano like Konerko is 38, but only has 410. He would have to hit 40-45 this year to have a chance. The funny thing is of those five players only Ortiz would appear to have a shot at the Hall of Fame. Konerko is a definite maybe, but the steroid connection could keep Giambi out. Since Dunn was so one dimensional, he could become the first to hit 500 homers who wont make it to Cooperstown. Further down the list you have the Rangers 35-year-old third baseman Adrian Beltre who was 376 homers. It could be a stretch for him considering his age and the fact he has already been on the disabled list this season. Tigers mega-star Miguel Cabrera may take another three or four years, but should crack 500. He has 367 now and is only 31. The Yankees Carlos Beltran is only four homers behind "Miggy" at 363, but he is 37. Prince Fielder, who appeared to be a lock a couple of years ago, is sitting on 287 at age 30. Seven more years averaging 30 homers a season and hed have a chance. Incidently, the top active Blue Jays home run hitter is Jose Bautista at 217, followed by Edwin Encarnacion at 196. If I had to bet, Id say Cabrera and Dunn will be the only two to reach 500 in the next two to four years. It could be a long wait, if ever, before it happens again after that. One last note on the chase for 500 homers. Phillies slugging first baseman Ryan Howard reached 100 homers quicker than anyone in history in 2007. Then in 2009 he arrived at 200 faster than anybody else. Now into his fifth season since then, thanks in large part to injuries, his pace has dropped off and hes hit 316 homers. At 34, 500 for Ryan Howard is little more than a dream. The odds of any of us seeing another 300-game winning pitcher are even more remote. The top active pitcher right now is Yankees lefty C.C. Sabathia at 208. Hes 33, but more than that, hes not quite the dominating pitcher he was two years ago and had elbow concerns last year. The Giants Tim Hudson is right behind him at 207 victories, but hes 38. After those two you dip down to the ageless Bartolo Colon of the Mets with 191 victories. The fourth-highest active pitcher in terms of victories is Blue Jays wily veteran lefty Mark Buehrle. At 35, he has 190 victories against 142 losses with a 3.81 ERA. For Hall of Fame voters, 250 victories could become the new 300 in the very near future. Considering his iron man innings stats Buehrle could at least bump himself into the Cooperstown conversation, with another four or five years of 13 or 14 wins. On The Mark Speaking of Buehrle, he takes his 4-0 record into a vital three-game set with Boston this weekend at Rogers Centre. Buehrle will be pitching in the series opener on Friday night against Bosox righty Jake Peavy. The Jays have slipped back to .500 at 11-11 after giving up solid leads at home in their last two games and getting shellacked by Baltimore. The Jays have now fallen to 4-5 at home and 6-7 against the AL East. This three-game set against Boston pretty well completes the first 25 per cent segment against the East. Right now Toronto is sitting in third place, one game up on Tampa Bay and one-and-a-half up on last place Boston. At the very least the Blue Jays need to take two out of three to stop the bleeding before they hit the road for Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Getting swept by Boston could drop the Jays into the cellar and start the same snowball rolling that saw them tumble to 73 and 74 wins the last two seasons. http://www.packersstore.us.com/Black-94-Khyri-Thornton-Womens-Jersey/
. Dortmund made the breakthrough in the 105th minute with a penalty from substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Marco Reus was fouled by Munich midfielder Dominik Stahl, who was sent off, and Aubameyang sent goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly the wrong way. Corey Linsley Packers Jersey
. Milwaukee is three games behind Indiana for the eighth and final postseason berth in the East with only six games to go. It stayed alive in the playoff hunt with Saturdays 93-87 overtime win versus Philadelphia.DES MOINES, Iowa - Manny Ramirez has been called everything from a World Series MVP to a cheater. The disgraced slugger is hoping to add "mentor" to his resume. The 42-year-old Ramirez, a two-time champion with Boston and a two-time offender of Major League Baseballs rules against performance-enhancing drugs, joined the Triple-A Iowa Cubs as a player/coach on Thursday after signing with Chicago in late May. Ramirez is expected to play one or two times a week for the organizations top affiliate in Des Moines. But Ramirezs biggest responsibility will be to work with the Cubs most promising prospects — and hes already got some simple advice for them. "Do the right thing, bro. Follow the rules. Thats it," Ramirez said Monday. That was often a problem for Ramirez when he was starring in the big leagues. Drama has always seemed to follow Ramirez, a happy-go-lucky but enigmatic slugger who clashed with managers, teammates and front office personnel during a 19-year major league career that included 555 home runs and 12 All-Star selections. But Cubs president Theo Epstein, who spent years dealing with Ramirez as the general manager of the Red Sox, said Monday in an interview with Boston radio station WEEI that he believes Ramirez is a changed man. "Manny gave me as many problems as he gave anyone, probably besides (former Red Sox manager Terry Francona) in his time in Boston. Hes responsible for most of the grey hairs on my head. So its not something that we entered into lightly," Epstein said. "But people do change. I talked a lot to Manny, and he seemed like a completely different guy... hes grown for the better. Hes open and honest about all the mistakes hes made in the past and he wants to fix that by being a positive influence on young players," he said. Ramirez spent the last month working on his swing in Arizona, even though Epstein said that the club had no plans to add him to tthe major league roster. Packers Aaron Rodgers Authentic Jersey
. But Epstein said that hes received glowing reports about Ramirezs attitude and work ethic from those in the organization whove worked with him so far. "When you love the game and you want to help young players and give them your testimonial and the things that you went through so they dont go through that, its easy," Ramirez said. "When you come here and youre helping young players grow up and see them go to the next level, I think thats such a joy for yourself, to come and help somebody else. It doesnt matter who you are. Its who youre going to be," he said. Ramirez, whose trademark dreadlocks have been replaced by an outgrown Mohawk, was scheduled to hit sixth and serve as the designated hitter on Monday night for Iowa. But what Chicago really wants is for Ramirez to share the wisdom that made him such a great hitter with his younger teammates. Many of the cornerstones of the Cubs rebuilding effort are now under the guidance of Ramirez, and perhaps shortstop Javier Baez will benefit most from Ramirezs tutelage. Baez, a 21-year-old Spanish-speaking native of Puerto Rico, is considered one of the games brightest young prospects. But hes struggled some at Iowa, currently hitting .239 with 11 home runs through 71 games. Arismendy Alcantara, a 22-year-old second baseman from the Dominican with an .893 OPS, and third baseman Kris Bryant are among the other high-profile prospects the Cubs are hoping Ramirez can reach. "Theres no one better to teach hitting," Epstein said. "He could always burn me on it, and wed release a minor league coach, a minor league player. But I dont think thats going to happen. I think if he helps one of our many talented young hitters in the organization. ... it will be worth it. And help one kid avoid a mistake off the field by using himself as an example, it will be worth it. Hes doing a great job so far." ' ' '