Kevin Hickey, who has served as a “pregame instructor” — basically a non-titled coach, right? — for the Chicago White Sox for several years died yesterday. From CSNChicago.com:
Kevin Hickey, who pitched on the South Side from 1981-83 and served as a pregame instructor since 2004, died Wednesday at Rush Memorial Center. He was 56.
Hickey was unresponsive in the intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center after being moved to Chicago from Dallas in early April. He was taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas on April 5 after missing the White Sox workout prior to Opening Day.
His death unleashed an outpouring of emotion from all kinds of people who have or had associations with the White Sox, from ownership to Ozzie Guillen to any number of players who worked with him.
Before coaching, Hickey spent some time pitching for the Sox in the early 80s. His career path was an unusual one. He never played high school ball and was discovered by the White Sox after showing up for a tryout one day. His experience before that was playing softball.
Even if you’ve never heard of him — and I can’t say that I did before I heard of his death — he clearly had a big impact on those who did know him. There are a lot of people like that.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.