Chicago White Sox great Jim Thome was too busy Saturday enjoying the accolades during a theme night in his honor to think long and hard about his future, but he did entertain the thought of becoming a major league manager one day.
"Maybe soon, you never know," Thome, 47, said. "I don't want to ever say never, but I love where I'm at right now."
Before their 3-1 loss to the Indians at Guaranteed Rate Field, the Sox honored Thome for his recent induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In a pregame ceremony, he gave a speech flanked by family and former coaches and teammates, including Mark Buehrle.
And the Sox celebrated his accomplishment with a Thome bobblehead giveaway and presented the avid deer hunter with an off-roader as a gift. His daughter, Lila, sang the national anthem, as she did at his Hall induction last month in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"It's just a dream," Thome said. "How would you ever imagine that? I'm very proud and it's something that's very special."
Thome splits time these days between serving as a special assistant to Sox general manager Rick Hahn and his duties as an MLB Network analyst.
"The network has given me the opportunity to ... be around the game, break the game down, teach young kids maybe a little bit about hitting or going into Studio 42 and giving advice," he said.
Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Thome's teammate in Cleveland for 10 years and again with the Sox for part of the 2006 season, considers Thome a great managerial candidate. Thome expressed appreciation and said his friend is near the front of the line.
"He's probably one of the top candidates that deserves to get a chance," Thome said. "He's like a brother to me. My first roommate in the big leagues, actually. He was a true leader in the '90s for us. I appreciate that comment but I'll throw that right back at him and say he's probably very deserving himself."
For now, Thome is focused on learning from Hahn and Ken Williams, the Sox's executive vice president, in the job he has held since 2013 following a 22-year major-league career.
"I'm a good listener. I listen a lot," Thome said. "Kenny's great at scouting. Rick has a great demeanor. One of his biggest strengths is he's a great listener."
Thome admits he's not as well-versed on the analytics the define today's game.
"I'm trying to learn the analytical because that wasn't talked about in our (era) in the 90s," he said. "We didn't talk about exit velocity. We practiced what maybe launch angle was, we just never spoke it. ... If you hit a ball, whatever the highest exit velocity is, or you hit one a little bit under that, if it goes out of the ballpark, it's still out of the ballpark.
"It's mastering the craft of your swing and not so much the statistical part. That's what I'm trying to learn. And to be honest, (I) respect a lot of these guys that are working hard to give that information to try to help us win."
Thome said he spent roughly three months on and off writing his Hall of Fame induction speech, making some tweaks in June. "Obviously, when you have an author as a wife, that helps," he said about Andrea Thome, a romance novelist.
Thome's due to get the red-carpet treatment from the Indians and Twins on Aug. 18 and 25, respectively.
(c)2018 the Chicago Tribune