White Sox notebook: Thome to give his 500th home run ball to the Hall
Whenever he hits home run No. 500, Jim Thome will begin planning his trip.
The White Sox designated hitter will wait for the season to end and then do his best UPS impersonation, hopping in his car with a “Cooperstown, New York, or bust” mentality.
“If we’re lucky enough, my dad and I are going to take the ball and deliver it to the Hall of Fame,” said Thome, who came into Monday’s game with 498 career homers. “That’s something that my wife and I discussed along with my dad, and I think for me the history of the game, I would rather have the ball there. It would mean something. And going with my father would be very, very special.”
Thome has played exhibition games in Cooperstown before, but has never taken the full tour.
“So that would be another pretty cool thing to take it with (his father) and to see it. It would be neat," Thome said.
Thome said his phone has been ringing a lot more than normal as friends and family from his hometown of Peoria and beyond have said they want to come up to Chicago to watch his pursuit.
They aren’t alone.
“I imagine sometimes guys get in that situation and they’re probably not the friendliest guys on the team to begin with and make it their own thing,” Paul Konerko said. “But he’s proving again that he’s a great teammate, letting everybody kind of share with it. It kind of feels like in a way that we’re all hitting (500) ourselves. He’s that good of a guy.”
Ozzie Guillen hadn’t heard about Thome’s plans for the historic ball, but the manager is certainly in favor of it.
“When Jimmy is a Hall of Famer, that means that ball will mean nothing,” Guillen said. “If that happened to me, I wouldn't put it in the Hall of Fame because I'm never going to be there. But Jimmy is going to be part of the Hall of Fame. Hey, that's great. It's great for baseball. It’s great to see people have a chance to see something out there when they visit. I think it's a good thing.”
The Sox skipped John Danks’ most recent turn in the rotation to give him a rest and, because of that, today will be his first start since Aug. 30.
“It’s hard to sit and watch,” Danks said. “I was joking with (trainer Herm Schneider), I wouldn’t be a good candidate for the DL - having to wait two weeks to throw. It’s nuts. I’ll be excited to get back out there (today).”
Mark Buehrle will return to the rotation on Sunday after his most recent start was skipped. The Sox, however, have no plans of skipping any of Javier Vazquez or Jon Garland’s starts.
“Every time we give (Garland) and Vazquez an extra day off, they don't bounce back the right way,” Guillen explained.