Alex Rodriguez (598) will become the seventh player in major league history to hit at least 600 home runs. It could happen at home this week with six games at Yankee Stadium. Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey (630) and Sammy Sosa (609) are in the 600 club. Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) are in the ultra elite category.
What reaction can A-Rod expect? If it happens at home, he will be cheered. If it is on the road, break out the boos. The milestone will rekindle the debate of what value can be placed on hefty home run numbers hit by players suspected of using performance enhancers. Mays and Griffey are clean, Sosa is not. Sosa ould be the only player to hit 600 homers and not make the Hall of Fame. The voting jury is undecided on Bonds. A-Rod has plenty of time to clean up his act and probably will be judged differently.
Still, the wide spread excitment associated with such achievements will be missing when A-Rod hits his 600th. It will be more of a personal triumph.
Each plateau will bring A-Rod closer to Bonds and the controversy will mount along the way. The public will decide if he is warranted the acclaim of Griffey, Mays, Ruth and Aaron.