White Sox

White Sox intrigued by Simeon grad, 7th-rounder Blake Hickman

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White Sox intrigued by Simeon grad, 7th-rounder Blake Hickman

A few weeks ago, the White Sox didn’t expect their local protege to make it to pick No. 112, let alone the seventh round.

But after Iowa pitcher Blake Hickman’s velocity dropped and he was roughed up a bit last month, the Simeon graduate and South Side native slipped to the White Sox with pick No. 202 in Tuesday’s MLB Draft.

Thanks to the work of scout J.J. Lally and a longstanding relationship with Hickman, who participated in the White Sox Amateur City Elite program growing up, the organization not only drafted the 6-foot-5 right-hander but also is hopeful he can turn into a solid prospect.

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“We’re excited about him,” assistant scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “We think there is a huge projection there. The ACE part of it and him being a local kid was kind of a bonus for us. … We’ve known him forever and when we made the call when he was our pick it sounded like — you would never know he fell somewhat in the draft with his reaction. He was so excited to be here.”

Hickman is a natural catcher/first baseman who transitioned to full-time pitching in 2014, his sophomore year at Iowa. He posted a 3.26 ERA with 86 strikeouts and 65 walks over 118 2/3 collegiate innings (21 starts, 12 relief appearances).

The White Sox see his progress being keyed by the development of his curveball to pair with a fastball Hostetler said has been clocked between 91 and 97 miles per hour.

“The curveball, the breaking ball just has to get tighter, better, and it’s going to happen with time,” Hostetler said. “He’s a young kid and you almost have to treat him like a high school kid as a pitcher because he hasn’t pitched much. The upside is tremendous with his body and arm strength and whatnot. There is a chance that if his curveball comes, he has a chance to be special.”

[MLB DRAFT: Get to know the new selections of the White Sox]

Hickman, who played in the White Sox Double Duty Classic every year from 2008-2011, is the first ACE player to be picked in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 20th round out of high school, but that was as a catcher.

As a pitcher, the White Sox like his raw stuff and his makeup. And there’s a hope that someday he could become a true success story, from Englewood to the majors at U.S. Cellular Field.

“He’s a tough kid and a smart kid,” Hostetler said. “When we made the call, ‘Hey Blake, this is the time for you,’ you could tell this is where he wants to be. So it’s exciting for us.”

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

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AP

White Sox Talk Podcast: Memories of Old Comiskey Park

For many White Sox fans, Comiskey Park was their introduction to White Sox baseball when they were young. Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey, and Chris Kamka share their memories of the old ballpark. Among them: Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl, Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball, Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game, they discuss the final game ever played there and read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

You can listen to the whole thing right here, or in the embedded player below.

8:26 - Chuck talks about seeing Al Cowens charge Ed Farmer on the mound in 1980 creating a bench clearing brawl.

10:11 - Ryan tells the story about catching a Mike Greenwell foul ball.

12:49 - Chuck talks about being there for the 1983 All-Star Game

15:11 - The guys talk about the final game ever played there.

16:44 - The guys read favorite memories sent in by White Sox fans.

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'White Sox to the Letter'

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AP

'White Sox to the Letter'

Inspired by Ogden Nash’s 1949 poem “A Lineup for Yesterday”

 

A is for A.J.

Once punched in the face

If strike three ain’t caught

He’ll steal first base

 

B is for Baines

Who’s known to speak gently

When asked if he’ll homer

He said, “Evidently!”

 

C for Comiskey

The old baseball yard

When it was torn down

I took it quite hard

 

D is for Donkey

I mean Adam Dunn

He’d strike out or walk

Or hit a home run

 

E is for Eloy

He isn’t here yet

Though an All-Star career

Is still a good bet

 

F is for Fisk

The incomparable Pudge

From his perch behind home

Not an inch he would budge

 

G is for Gold

G is for Glove

Aparicio is

Who I’m thinking of

 

H is for Hawk

Unforgettable voice

Stretch! Dadgummit!

And don’t stop now boys!

 

I for Iguchi

Second base man

Won World Series

Returned to Japan

 

J is for Jackson

The legend still grows

A home run or touchdown

Only Bo knows

 

K is for Kopech

Speed, he has plenty

He’ll pile up strikeouts

In two thousand twenty

 

L is for Luke

Old Aches and Pains

Hit .388

That record remains

 

M is for Mark

As in Mister Buehrle

When he takes the mound

The game will end early

 

N is for no-no

Wilson Alvarez, Humber

Two by Mark Buehrle

Too many to number

 

O for Orestes

Miñoso’s real name

Not in the Hall

And that’s a real shame

 

P is for Paulie

He gave it his all

At the championship rally

Gave Jerry the ball

 

Q for Quintana

Kept coming up short

Only because

Of no run support

 

R is for Richie

But please call him Dick

A dangerous man

When he’s swinging the stick

 

S is for shoes

Which were not worn by Joe

In 1919

Please say it ain’t so

 

T is for Thomas

Amazing career

He went to the Hall

And brewed Big Hurt Beer

 

U for Uribe

He played everywhere

When the ball left his bat

Hands waved in the air

 

V is for Veeck

He knew how to sell

Fireworks, promotions

And Eddie Gaedel

 

W is for William

Or Bill; He was Beltin’

So hot was the corner

Third baseman was Melton

 

X is for Fox

At least the last letter

Among second basemen

Nobody was better

 

Y is for Yolmer

He has sneaky power

The master of giving

A Gatorade shower

 

Z is for Zisk

And others I missed

Unable to fit

In my White Sox list