Ron Gardenhire plays hardball, holds Jim Thome’s 607th homer for ransom

It was just last month that Jim Thome's 607th career homer disappeared into the hungry vegetation at Target Field, starting an extensive search that didn't end until sometime the next morning.

Though Thome had moved on to another city with his team — he was playing for the Philadelphia Phillies then — a Minnesota Twins official said the team would be forwarding the little piece of history to ol' Jim Jam. That apparently never happened, though, because Thome's return to Target Field with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday was met with the news that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is keeping the ball captive in a case on his desk.

And he's not going to return the ball to his former player for free, either.

From the Pioneer Press:

"He's got to do something to get this ball. I know that," Gardenhire said. "He hurt our feelings. So if he wants the ball back, Jim, make my day."

What does that mean?

"Thrill me," Gardenhire said. "I'm not talking about on the field. I want to see something that helps one of our favorite charities."

What, a signed bat and a picture outside the clubhouse isn't going to work?

There's no indication that Thome has coughed up a donation for the 607th of his 609 career home runs just yet. But given that he's been collecting as many of his home run balls as possible, it's not too hard to imagine the former Twin will give Gardy what he's looking for. Heck, maybe he can just sign that $5,000 check he got from Jonathan Papelbon over to his old skipper and call
it a day.

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