Coach Kevin Hickey of the Chicago White Sox (R) congratulates pitcher Jake Peavy after a win over the Chicago Cubs at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Cubs 6-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kevin Hickey made the White Sox out of a tryout camp. Sadly, he has passed away at a young age.
Kevin Hickey is a great baseball story. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago and had no professional baseball experience; in the late 1970s, the White Sox used to have open tryout camps. This is what happened when Hickey went to one of those camps:
In 1978, Kevin Hickey was playing center field for a steel mill softball team in Chicago.
Then, his work scheduled changed, and a teammate talked him into joining the Markham Cardinals, a semipro baseball team as a catcher.
That August, the Chicago White Sox held their annual tryout at Comiskey Park, 3 miles from Hickey`s home. He was the only one of 250 players to receive a contract.
Hickey wound up pitching three major league seasons for the White Sox and was part of their 1983 AL West title team; he later pitched three seasons for the Orioles, and for the past several years had been a batting practice pitcher for the White Sox. On April 5, before the White Sox' season-opening game in Texas, Hickey was found unresponsive in his hotel room. He passed away early Wednesday:
#white sox family lost a good man today, one of my favorite lefties growing up and then a friend later in life, Kevin Hickey RIP— Lou Canellis (@LouCanellis) May 16, 2012
Kevin Hickey was 56 years old.