Catching up: Rick Hahn’s vernacular, Jim Thome’s speech

Jim Margalus

Since it’s an off day, so let’s get a couple of things out there:

For The Athletic, I wrote about the idea of Eloy Jimenez’s “checkboxes,” and the enjoyment of watching fans and media use Rick Hahn’s penchant for clichés against him.

Hahn has referred to the checklist concept before. This time, however, when he was asked for details, he wouldn’t reveal one.

“They know what’s on the list,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and tell you the things players can’t do.”

A pause followed. It was an uncharacteristically terse answer, and also somewhat hollow, considering Hahn spent March through May remarking on Kopech’s development of a reliable changeup, or lack thereof.

After a couple of beats, Hahn emphasized the recency of their excellence – Kopech’s last three starts, Jiménez’s 10 games since returning from the disabled list – and concluded with, “a little bit longer resumé of consistency there will certainly bode well.”

If that delayed elaboration was Hahn trying to head off the headlines and tweets, it didn’t work. Instead, Chicago writers and fans christened the new cliché for him. Jokes and barbs about checklists and their boxes flowed as Jiménez tore up the Pawtucket Red Sox over the weekend. Jiménez is now 19-for-38 over his last 10 games, and nobody can cry “selective end points” because that stretch started with an 0-for-4 night. Expect more box-related jokes if Jiménez lights up the Norfolk Tides on Monday while the Sox are off. Expect them even if he doesn’t.

* * *

Back in 2008, I went to Cooperstown to cover Jim Thome dropping off his 500th home run ball with his father, Chuck. Jim kept using the word “magical” to describe the day, and Chuck shed tears over the idea of Thome getting inducted into the Hall of Fame one day.

Sure enough, Chuck had a hard time looking up as Jim thanked him during his induction speech, and he wasn’t the only subject of gratitude that had tears in their eyes.

Thome kept it together, though, perhaps because it was incredibly well-rehearsed. No, seriously:

Every single day, for weeks, for months, Thome would go to the backyard of his home. There are hedges back there that he would use those as a lectern. He put down his Hall of Fame speech. And he would practice it in the Chicago wind.

“He would tell me, ‘I need to do it outside because I’m going to give the speech outside,'” his wife Andrea said. “He would say, ‘I want to be prepared to hear what it’s like outside, you know. Your voice sounds different outside.”

He did this everyday?

“Oh yeah,” she says. “Sometimes he would do it twice a day.”

You can watch the entirety of speech below.


  • Jim Margalus

    Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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Just to reiterate, the development of cliches is not linear. If someone were wishcasting, yeah, all cliches would develop at the same rate, but that’s just not how it works.


Everyone needs to lay off Hahn and the FO for leaving Eloy in the minors. People are probably missing some pretty smart stuff they haven’t considered.

1. The odds are good bringing up the organization’s best hitter would result in a showcase of home runs and awesomeness, resulting in children getting excited and wanting to go to Soxfest this winter to see the new star. More children can only make Soxfest more annoying. Thank you Rick.

2. Sox fans are a very select few, and we don’t like sharing. Calling up Elopech now would result in way too much notoriety from members of the public in the barren sports month of August. These people might have silly ideas about “buying tickets to future games” and other undesirable outcomes. The on brand move for the Sox should be to wait until the first Bears Sunday, when we can be assured absolutely nobody is watching this team. A lot of teams FO’s would prioritize money and winning over no waits for a bathroom, luckily we are being spared such ruthlessness.

3. A nice audition from Elopech would have some risk of coinciding with a strong finishing stretch from Moncada/TA. This sort of young nucleus would have the possibility of attracting a free agent or two, and with the Sox current roster already projected to cost about $55 million next year in its entirety, who is going to pay these fancy free agents?

Maybe since so many of you missed these, you’ll take a second and reconsider next time when you get your pitchforks out about silliness like “the best hitter in the White Sox organization should maybe play for the White Sox.”

Josh Nelson

I’m a fan of Elopech


or thirded if Laura beat me to it

lil jimmy

sounds like something you should check with your doctor about.


“If you suffer from Top Prospect Anxiety Syndrome” contact your doctor and see if Elopech is for you

Lurker Laura

Outstanding, and I second the Elopech endorsement.


Those are great points. I’m all for leaving all those guys in the minors thru their entire career. Otherwise, we might have trouble getting cheap tickets to games in the future. And if Charlotte and Birmingham can’t handle all the excitement, I’m sure Kannapolis would take them all.


There’s only one Chipolte in Kannapolis. I don’t think that would support all the prospects.


For a second, I thought you were addressing the read as “Chuck” at the beginning of the Thome section. I thought it an odd but not necessarily bad affect to adopt.

Back in 2008, I went to Cooperstown to cover Jim Thome dropping off his 500th home run ball with his father, Chuck

Lurker Laura

Hahn is just such a lawyer. 

I dated one once, and it was the most clinical, bloodless – yet mean – break-up ever. I thought we were going for ice cream, and 10 seconds in, I was, “wait, what’s happening, I’m getting verbal darts thrown at me by a very smug person.”


They certainly can be a very soulless bunch, can’t they. Experts at equivocation.


Not all of us are smug.

Some of us are snarky instead.

Lurker Laura

I prefer the snarky version. (Of anybody really.)


You didn’t break up first? How could you stand the constant unprovoked ‘when I was in law school’ or ‘I’m an attorney, soooo’ comments?


Braves bringing up Koby Allard. Guess he checked his boxes.

Trooper Galactus

His B-Ref picture is, um, bad.


Zach Duke traded to Seattle. If he’s getting moved, someone has to want Cedeno. 


Why can’t Hahn tell us what’s left on Eloy’s checklist, as he did with Kopech and the change-up? 200 at-bats at AAA seems unnecessary but if that’s the plan, he can shut up the fans/media and the daily inquiries. 

On a related note, Danny Parkins said on his show today that one of his pals with good Sox contacts thinks Eloy won’t debut until early April, ala Kris Bryant. Seems hard to believe. 


Danny Parkins is also a complete moron, so take that with at least one grain of salt.


Eloy hit another bomb


Eloy has only two fewer homers (8) than he does strikeouts (10) in Charlotte.


He just checked the “he’s so dangerous opposing teams intentionally walk him with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out” box.


2-2 with 2 walks, 1 intentional. Now at .396 with a 1.172 OPS. Seriously, what could he possibly have left to prove. This is utterly ridiculous.


And if he’s going to start getting intentionally walked in AAA, that’s not exactly going to help his development any.


We’ll find out tomorrow night.