CHICAGO – Earlier this evening, the Chicago White Sox further recognized Kevin Hickey’s legacy by announcing the club will name the batting cages the “Kevin Hickey Batting Cages.” A plaque (see attached) commemorating Hickey’s career and contributions to the team will be placed outside the batting cages.
The announcement came shortly after the White Sox honored and celebrated the memory of Hickey during a pregame ceremony that included a 16-inch softball hitting exhibition, tribute video and special gift presentations to his family.
Hickey, who overcame all odds to reach the major leagues, pitched for the White Sox (1981-83) and Baltimore Orioles (1989-91). He rejoined the White Sox in 2004 as an instructor and batting practice pitcher, a position he held until passing away on May 16, 2012, at the age of 56.
“Ask anyone in our clubhouse, every person here appreciated what Kevin did to help the White Sox win baseball games,” said White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko. “No one wanted to win more, no one was more optimistic, no one cared more and no one took more pride in his job. He made all of us better.”
A native of Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood on the South Side, Hickey attended St. Rita and Kelly High Schools.
Hickey’s route to the major leagues was unique. The left-hander did not play high school baseball. Following a successful run as a 16-inch softball player – he helped lead his team, the Bobcats, to the 1976 World 16-inch Championship – and a stint with the Markham Cardinals semipro baseball team, he was invited to a summer tryout at Comiskey Park. He impressed White Sox scouts George Sobek and Joe Begani at the tryout and was offered a minor-league contract, the only one of 250 players to be signed.
Following three seasons in the Sox farm system, Hickey made his major-league debut on April 14, 1981. He compiled a 9-14 record with a 3.41 ERA and 118 strikeouts over six seasons.