I had the pleasure of drinking with Kevin in the 1980's at a few local places. The guy was 100% the real deal. Godspeed buddy! I hope they have a beer waiting for you in the clouds!
Kevin Hickey never quit.
Not in a bar fight. Not on a ball diamond. Never.
He epitomized South Side toughness. He took no guff.
He wasn’t afraid of anything. Especially not big league hitters.
How do I know? Hickey told me.
Repeatedly, in fact, over the last few months in a series of interviews that would be his last. The folks who know the former major league lefty best — his family, his teammates, big league coaches, Jerry Reinsdorf and Roland Hemond, a guy who gave Hickey more chances at realizing his major league baseball dreams than anyone else — backed up every word of it.
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.
He died Wednesday from complications of an April 5 seizure that left him in a coma. He was 56.
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