Asked on Monday the greatest challenge of his first season as a major league manager, Robin Ventura said there were some "things they couldn't prepare me for," but most has gone as he expected. The hardest thing to deal with all year was the death of Kevin Hickey, Ventura said:
"It’s not anything anyone can prepare you for," Ventura said. "So that’s the toughest thing. Dealing with regular life. Baseball stuff, I’ve seen a lot of it, been through a lot of it, that overshadows everything else."
Hickey was a batting practice pitcher for the team when he fell into a coma, in a hotel room, before Chicago's season opener in Arlington against the Rangers. He died on May 16.
Hickey was an old-school, very Chicago success story. Hickey did not play high school baseball - he played 16-inch softball and in semipro leagues - and was discovered by the White Sox in 1978 at an open tryout. He pitched for the team in 1981 and 1982, and later spent three years with the Orioles as a southpaw reliever.