Hall of Famer Frank Thomas has joined Apple’s Friday Night Baseball broadcast team as a special correspondent. Thomas will provide game analysis and pre-recorded conversations with baseball’s biggest stars to air during Apple’s MLB broadcasts.
“The Big Hurt,” as Thomas was known during his 19-year MLB career, interviewed star outfielder Mike Trout for his Apple debut airing Friday as part of a pre-game studio show leading up to the Seattle Mariners vs. Los Angeles Angels game on June 9 on Apple TV+.
Thomas’s interviews with players will mostly occur in stadiums before games on the field or around batting cages.
Apple, which is in the second season of its reported seven-year MLB streaming deal worth $85 million annually, expects Thomas to not appear during each Friday Night Baseball broadcast but rather select marquee games such as this week’s pitching showdown between Angels star Shohei Ohtani and Mariners ace Luis Castillio.
Thomas, a two-time MVP with 521 career home runs, is the most distinguished former player to join Apple’s MLB broadcast team. The company’s booths for Friday Night Baseball include Wayne Randazzo (play-by-play), former MLB pitcher Dontrelle Willis (analyst), and Heidi Watney (sideline reporter). Another booth features play-by-play Alex Faust, analyst Ryan Spilborghs, and reporter Tricia Whitaker.
Royce Dickerson, Apple’s executive producer for live sports, previously worked with Thomas when the two were at Fox Sports. Thomas was an MLB analyst for Fox for nearly ten years before separating from the network before the start of this season upon Derek Jeter’s arrival at Fox.
Apple is still offering a two-month free trial of Apple TV+ for fans to watch Friday Night Baseball.