Jim Thome thinking ahead to managing
Jim Thome made a 22-year career out of mashing taters, which is what you call home runs when you have 612 of them.
His career line looks something like this: .276/.402/.554; 612 home runs; 2323 hits.
But at this point, late in his playing career, the 43-year-old is starting to consider less his own tater-mashing abilities and more his ability to teach the art of the mash (not to be confused with "doing the 'mashed potato'") to others through managing.
From ESPN Chicago:
"This is the thing in this job I'm in now -- I want to look at what the next phase is for me getting back on the field, competing at a high level," Thome told the [Chicago Sun-Times]. "There is a side to me that wants to manage someday and prepare myself for it if that opportunity came calling. I'd want to be ready."
White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Thome has the ability to be a manager.
"He can be a batting coach. He'd be a great batting coach, but someday he'll be a manager. That's what he'll be," Reinsdorf told the Sun-Times.
Certainly there are plenty of organizations with young minds that could benefit from a head full of Thome-isms on hitting. Chances are, he'd catch on as a batting coach initially, before building a resume with enough experience to take charge of a clubhouse.
Thome would likely follow the Charlie Manuel school of managing, having played under Manuel many years as an Indian and then with the Phillies.
Manuel was the hitting coach and eventual manager in Cleveland, prior to inheriting a managing role in Philadelphia. His congenial nature focused less on rigid statistics and more on harboring a comfortable environment for his players, so that they had a clubhouse they could fall back on even during dry spells.
A "players' manager," they called Manuel, and there's no reason to think that Thome, with a life of Manuel's tutelage under his belt and his peers voting him the nicest player in the league, won't embody the same style. When the day comes, he'll likely have options.