White Sox

Former White Sox slugger Jim Thome elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Former White Sox slugger Jim Thome elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Jim Thome is heading to Cooperstown.

The former White Sox slugger was announced Wednesday as one of four players elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, joining Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman as members of the Class of 2018. Thome appeared on 89.8 percent of ballots.

Thome, a Peoria native, will almost certainly be enshrined with a Cleveland Indians cap on his head, but he was a fan favorite during his four-season stay on the South Side. He made an instant impression with a home run in his first game with the White Sox, the same night the team raised its championship banner following the 2005 World Series win. Thome hit 134 of his 612 career home runs while playing for the White Sox, including his 500th. Those 612 homers are the eighth most in baseball history.

His most dramatic moment in a White Sox uniform came in the Blackout Game in 2008, where his solo shot in Game No. 163 was the only run in the game and sent the White Sox to the playoffs.

Thome made five All-Star teams during his 22-year career, including one with the White Sox in 2006. Four times he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. His career will always be defined by the long ball, and he hit 30 or more 12 times in 13 seasons, including six 40-homer seasons and a career-high 52-homer season in 2002.

Thome will be remembered by most baseball fans as a member of those great Indians teams of the 1990s and early 2000s, where he played alongside fellow Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and a ton of other stars like Manny Ramirez, Omar Vizquel, David Justice and Kenny Lofton. Thome and the Tribe made the playoffs five straight years from 1995 through 1999 (and again in 2001) and reached the World Series in 1997, where they lost to the Florida Marlins. Thome finished his career with 17 postseason home runs, including one with the White Sox in the 2008 American League Division Series.

Thome's election makes it two straight seasons with a former White Sox great heading to the Hall. Tim Raines was a member of the Class of 2017. Frank Thomas, in 2014, is the most recent player to be inducted with a White Sox cap on his plaque.

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best


Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”


“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey


White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.