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Renteria calls Jim Thome ‘big gentle giant,’ congratulates him on Hall of Fame

Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome smiles during news conference Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in New York. | Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

White Sox manager Rick Renteria only needed three words to describe newly elected Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome: “big gentle giant.”

Thome is known as a talented hitter with Midwest values. He hit 134 home runs in his three and some seasons with the White Sox and smashed a career total of 612 over 22 years.

But the stats only tell part of the story. The Peoria native was known for his kind demeanor off the field.

“[Thome is] a very prepared athlete competitor and a gentle giant away from the field,” Renteria said Thursday one day after news broke of Thome’s call from the Hall. “He was a great player as well as a great human being — one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet.”

White Sox right-hander Carson Fulmer agreed with Renteria based on his past interactions with Thome.

“Nicest guy ever,” Fulmer said. “This is a guy with so much success. … He’s one of the best ever. We’re all really happy for him.”

Thome is got into the hall on his first ballot with 89.8 percent of votes. He’ll officially be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on July 29. He’s joined by iconic Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, Expos and Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and longtime Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.

Follow me on Twitter: @madkenney