Frank Thomas offers himself to White Sox — as hitting coach
By Joe Cowley firstname.lastname@example.org October 24, 2011 10:36PM
Chicago White Sox's Frank Thomas watches his home run in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, N.Y. on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2003. (AP Photo/Bernie Nunez)
Updated: November 26, 2011 8:21AM
ARLINGTON, Texas — What do 521 home runs, 2,468 hits and a .301 career batting average get you these days?
Not even a phone call.
But Frank Thomas is willing to wait patiently and see if that changes.
Before Game 5 of the World Series on Monday, Thomas — who is working the Fall Classic for MLB.com — said that not only could he be a hitting coach, he could be the hitting coach for the White Sox. But he doesn’t seem to be in their plans.
‘‘Of course I can be a hitting coach, but who knows if this is the right time for it or not,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘We’ll see later. [General manager] Kenny [Williams] and them, they’ve got their own plan going on. You heard all the names being mentioned. They’ve got their own clique, their own nucleus that they’ve been working with. Do I fit? Who knows. Bottom line is they’ll make the right decision they need to make.’’
Considering what Thomas did at the plate for 19 seasons — 16 with the Sox — tapping into his knowledge would seem to be a no-brainer. But not many people could hit the ball like Thomas.
So how would he translate that to an average hitter?
‘‘No doubt I can look at the swings of other players and see things,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘My style was my style, but the bottom line is getting the hands in the right position, the body in the right position, putting your head on the ball and making a good swing. I don’t care if you’re two feet, one feet, hands up, hands down. You just have to get to that same spot and make it work.’’
Thomas came from the Walt Hriniak hitting school, where keeping your head on the ball was the emphasis. So was swinging down on the ball, which often meant taking the upper hand off the bat. Critics believed that took power away, but it never seemed to bother ‘‘The Big Hurt.’’
New Sox manager Robin Ventura also followed Hriniak’s philosophy, and a few hitters in his lineup could use some help.
Thomas said he watched the awful seasons of Adam Dunn and Alex Rios and believes he could make a difference.
‘‘I think Adam will be back,’’ Thomas said. ‘‘Adam was done by the halfway point and just couldn’t get out of that funk mentally. But the guy hit 40 home runs for six straight years. You just don’t lose that overnight. His confidence is shaken, I’m sure, and he just has to be fixed. Time will fix it and a lot of hard work.’’
Whether that includes Thomas remains to be seen.
But his phone is on.