Kevin Hickey, South Side native, former White Sox LOOGY and batting practice pitcher, lived an one-in-a-million life. That storybook closed after Hickey passed away on Wednesday, following weeks spent in a diabetic coma.
After news of his death spread, lots of stories followed. Some quotes from the above video are in Chuck Garfien's piece about Hickey, and there have been a number of other nice tributes that help fill out Hickey's life and legacy in the White Sox organization.
Mark Konkol had talked to Hickey several times leading up to his coma, and the resulting article is a wonderful obituary. This is the setup:
Maybe you’ve heard about Hickey. He’s the street tough from Brighton Park, the stud at 16-inch softball who got laid off at Ryerson Steel and got signed by the White Sox, his favorite team, after throwing just few dozen fastballs at a open tryout at Old Comiskey Park.
And after a long, arduous journey — shoulder injuries, five years in the minors, a big league resurrection with the Orioles, more injuries, retirement, a movie role alongside Charlie Sheen, divorce, poverty, diabetes and eight long years selling used cars — Hickey made it back to the White Sox bench as a batting practice pitcher who was beloved by players.
Read the whole thing now. It's essential, and it's ultimately uplifting -- especially the part about the playoff share, which allowed him to purchase a glucose pump.
Ed Farmer allowed the inherited runs that led to Hickey's first major-league loss. How Hickey found out is one of the stories Farmer tells.
Mark Salas talks about Hickey's thorough nature, which helped when it came to making sure everybody had enough pitches to hit. Not so much when it came to quick rounds of golf.
And a few assorted tweets:
Sad to hear news this am of Kevin Hickey's passing. A true loss to @whitesox family. Great man who made it fun to come to the park & work.— Mark Teahen (@ESPY_TEAHEN) May 16, 2012
May Kevin Hickey rest in peace.He will be missed. Brought passion and energy to our clubhouse everyday. Praying for his family. @whitesox— Philip Humber (@Philip_Humber) May 16, 2012
I am sadden by the passing of one of my favorites Kevin Hickey. He was such a motivator and encourager. I'll miss him dearly.— Brent Lillibridge (@BSLillibridge) May 16, 2012
Sad to see a good man pass away today, Kevin Hickey....very good baseball man and GREAT person.Hick will be missed.— Jon Adkins (@jonadkinsWV) May 17, 2012
I'm certain that Hickey held future HOF George Brett hitless in every career plate appearance (0/15?) - LaRussa matched them up constantly.— Dan Evans (@DanEvans108) May 16, 2012
We lost a great guy in Kevin Hickey of the @whitesox. Great man to be around and was always around if u needed some BP. #RIP Buddy— Jermaine dye (@JermaineDye) May 16, 2012
Very saddened to hear that Kevin Hickey passed away. A great man who I had the pleasure of knowing during my White Sox days.— Adam Russell (@AdamRussell36) May 16, 2012
no to manny people make this game fun the hick. man. was tha man— Ozzie Guillen (@OzzieGuillen) May 16, 2012