OAKLAND -- White Sox slugger Jim Thome hit his 563rd career home run in Saturday's 8-1 win over Oakland, matching him with A's and Yankees legend Reggie Jackson for 12th all-time. "It's pretty neat and humbling," Thome said. "Reggie is one of the all-time greats with what he's done for the game, and to be a part of that is pretty neat." Thome hit his 22nd home run on a 2-2 pitch from Edgar Gonzalez leading off the ninth inning. The ball landed just beyond the 367-foot sign in left field. As it traveled through the air, the ball passed through the same orbit as Reggie's retired '9,' which adorns an area of the upper deck closed off to fans.
"In Oakland! That was the first thing out of my mouth," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. "You have to play a lot of games to do that. Every time he hits a home run, it's history." Thome, who hit his first home run with Cleveland in 1991 at Yankee Stadium, needs six to match Rafael Palmeiro for 11th, and 10 to match Harmon Killebrew's 573. Jackson accompanied the Yankees into Chicago two weeks ago, and Thome took the opportunity to speak with him. Thome's climb up the home run charts was never mentioned. "Reggie is very energetic, and any time you talk with him, you just soak it all in," Thome said. "That's how the conversation kind of went." Thome has hit 11 of his home runs in Oakland, which ties the 14th most he's hit in any stadium. Thome already has 96 home runs at U.S. Cellular Field, which opened in 1991. He hit his first home run in his 95th plate appearance. "He's guaranteed the Hall of Fame," Guillen said. "He always makes it fun. He's the same guy every day. If it was me, I guarantee you, everybody in the stadium would know I passed Reggie. But the way he goes about business is truly professional. Anyone would be proud to play next to a guy who is all about baseball."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.