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COURTESY MINNESOTA TWINS. Jim Thome's homerun ball, after it was finally retrieved.

, Star Tribune

Thome's homer a pot shot

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • June 16, 2012 - 12:46 AM

The search for 607 is over. The Ball has been found. It's safe and secure and will soon depart for its final resting place among Jim Thome's collection.

The search for Thome's 607th career home run began as soon as his third inning blast landed deep in the flower bed atop the right field wall. Fans rummaged through the flowers but came up empty.

Thome has been collecting home run balls since he hit his 500th, so this was kind of a big deal.

After the game, stadium workers and security personnel converged on the scene. Gary Glawe, senior director of ballpark systems, grabbed a safety harness used for scoreboard maintenance and descended into the bed.

"I jumped down there and handed the flowers up to the security guards and they lined them up in the chairs," Glawe said. "I started digging in the mulch."

A security guard found the ball inside one of the flower pots.

"It's not your typical home run ball," Glawe said. "With Jim being part of our organization for a couple years -- and doing some nice things for our front office -- it was a good, special favor. Not that we wouldn't have done it for anyone else."

The ball was water-logged and dirty -- an inch of rain had fallen Thursday -- and the Twins were worried that they had an older ball. But they dropped a new ball in the same spot for an hour Friday and the test ball came out looking the same.

Dustin Morse, the team's senior manager of baseball communications, tweeted (@twins_morsecode): "For those wondering, we found Jim Thome's home run ball. I plan on sending it to him later today. #SearchFor607

But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had the ball in a plastic bag before Friday's game.

"Tell you what," he said. "Got a piece of history here. He might have to bring in that blue ox and get the ball back. That's what you get for spending our money and coming in here and hitting a ball into the stands."

Gardy was joking ... we think.

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