By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Hall of Fame is waiting for former slugger Jim Thome to become eligible. Meanwhile, the 46-year-old Thome, a Peoria native, has been busy adding jobs to his baseball resume. Already a special assistant to the Chicago White Sox front office, Thome will now offer his expertise to MLB Network.
Starting May 1, Thome will make appearances live in the East Coast studios and show his hitting expertise in “Studio 42,” where the station’s analysts break down different phases of the game with instructional sessions.
“When I went there (to the studios) in February and had an opportunity to work with (analyst) Sean Casey for three days, I didn’t think anything would happen,” Thome said. “Then the opportunity came up. I thought about how it would affect my job with the White Sox. It all worked out. I am excited about the opportunity. It will be fun being with a bunch of people who share great knowledge of the game. I look forward to sharing things I have learned over a 22-year career, helping kids.”
Thome is working his White Sox job for this next week, observing and helping players in the team’s minor league system. His MLB Network gig will be part time, he said, adding the network and the White Sox are on the same page as far as his accessibility to the other entity.
“You have ‘MLB Tonight’ and other shows — this is not a full-time job,” Thome said. “Whenever they need me to come in as long as doesn’t coincide with this (White Sox) job, I will do the best I can to coordinate it and go on.”
Thome will be eligible to be on the Hall of Fame ballot in January 2018. Thome hit 612 career homers, seventh most all time. His 1,699 RBIs are 26th all time. Thome was a five-time All-Star during a career in which he played for the Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles. Thome played for the White Sox from 2006-’09.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.