Ken Harrelson will return for White Sox play-by-play duty in 2016, but in a unique scaled-back role, working only road games and a only a few home dates.
Harrelson, 74, had considered a lighter schedule last offseason but said he chose to work most of the games after the Sox made roster improvements that appeared to heighten their postseason chances.
For home games, Harrelson makes a lengthy commute to his home in Granger, Ind., which over 81 home dates is very time consuming. In some ways, traveling with the team on the road could be easier.
Talks between the Sox and Harrelson had been in the works in recent days. Because the club has not announced plans for their TV broadcasts next season, Harrelson declined to go into specifics about his future.
“I don’t know how it got out there but yes I am cutting back on my schedule,” Harrelson told the Sun-Times Monday, a day after the Sox completed the 2015 season with a 76-86 record.
The White Sox were not planning to announce anything Monday but wouldn’t confirm or deny Harrelson’s impending new job description.
Harrelson said other broadcasters such as Vin Scully have shared with him how much they’ve enjoyed cutting back their schedules after doing home and away games for most of their careers. Harrelson enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and will take advantage of more time off by attending their youth sports games.
Bruce Levine of AM-670 first reported Monday that Harrelson will do 78 games, plus Opening Day and two Cub home games.
Harrelson has worked 31 seasons in the Sox TV booth and seven with analyst Steve Stone, whose contract expired after this season but is expected to return. Stone is currently in discussions with the club about a new deal.
It is not known who the Sox will pursue to do play-by-play for home games.
Radio broadcasters Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson will return on one-year contracts as the Sox transition from 670-AM to WLS 890 AM next season.