CHICAGO -- Jim Thome never really thought about becoming a baseball analyst or a member of the media when he was putting together a Hall of Fame-caliber career over 22 seasons on the field.But when the opportunity arose for Thome to join MLB Network as an on-air personality on a
CHICAGO -- Jim Thome never really thought about becoming a baseball analyst or a member of the media when he was putting together a Hall of Fame-caliber career over 22 seasons on the field.
But when the opportunity arose for Thome to join MLB Network as an on-air personality on a part-time basis, the affable slugger was excited for the challenge. Thome will be appearing as an analyst across the network's studio programming, making his debut on MLB Tonight on Monday, May 1 at 5 p.m. CT alongside former teammate Sean Casey and host Fran Charles.
Thome worked with Casey when he spent three days as a guest analyst on MLB Network in February.
"I loved it," Thome said on Wednesday, speaking in the White Sox dugout. "Really what it is is just sitting around and talking baseball and sharing input that you've learned.
"It's a great group of people that share great knowledge of the game. I love baseball. I think being around baseball and talking hitting and maybe sharing some of the stuff that I learned over a 22-year career, maybe to help kids, coaches, just in general maybe share a little input.
"[I learned] a lot of stuff from a lot of great people, Hall of Famers that are on the show," Thome said. "Players that I played with, players that I competed with. And to me the biggest thing, when you leave the game, you miss that teammate-camaraderie atmosphere that I think this gives you."
Thome continues on as a special assistant to White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, with a plan in place for him to go see some of the team's Minor League affiliates soon. Balancing the White Sox job, which he has held since 2013 -- alongside being a husband and father to his two kids -- stood as the most important factors in adding on this new task for the man with 612 home runs, 1,583 runs scored, 1,699 RBIs and 1,747 walks.
Hahn, executive vice president Ken Williams and chairman Jerry Reinsdorf were very supportive of the move for Thome, who is eligible for Hall of Fame election in 2018. The man who played for Cleveland, the Phillies, the White Sox, the Dodgers, the Twins and the Orioles feels as if he has a great deal to share.
"I'll learn, ask questions, as I do here," Thome said. "The biggest thing in anything is don't ever be afraid to ask questions and listen. In any job, you need to listen.
"Being around Studio 42 is great. Billy Ripken does a great job. John Smoltz obviously has done a great job on the pitching and him with [Dan] Plesac as well. Being around Sean [Casey], from the hitting end, Carlos Pena does a nice job.
"So, learning and I've got a lot of drills I did when I played. If I can teach that to the game, but also maybe do our youth side of the sport and also the college side. Maybe you say something that helps a player and he goes out and does well. That's what it's all about."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.