Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox announced that former Indians All-Star Jim Thome has re-joined their organization as a special assistant to GM Rick Hahn.
“I don’t think I could ask for a better situation than being in Chicago and with the White Sox,” Thome said to Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Chuck Garfien.
This move likely signals the end of the 22-year playing career for the 42-year-old slugger and likely future Hall of Famer. He finishes his illustrious playing days with a .276 average, 2,328 hits, 451 doubles and 612 home runs. He ranks seventh all-time in homers and 24th with a .554 slugging percentage.
Back in 2011, Thome returned to the Cleveland franchise where he first achieved stardom in the mid-’90s. He hit .296 with an .869 OPS in his 22 games with the team that year. He then continued his DH/pinch-hitting ways with Baltimore and Philadelphia during the 2012 season, before being unable to find another playing job this offseason.
The Indians announced toward the end of the 2011 season that they have plans to unveil a Thome statue where his legendary 511-foot home run landed in July 1999. The statue, which was commissioned about 21 months ago, has a placemarker and will be just behind Heritage Park in center field, has been a highly contentious topics for Cleveland sports fans of late, especially with this recent news of working for a division rival.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Thome is the 11th former White Sox player to be added to the organization’s staff. Team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has long been a fan of the Peoria, Ill., native, emphasized that he thinks Thome could be a manager some day.
“He’ll be here and be a presence in our clubhouse, come to spring training and be a presence,” Reinsdorf said to the Tribune. “It’ll be a real plus. And someday he’ll manage a major league team.”