Jim Hickey (baseball)
James Joseph Hickey (born October 12, 1961 in Chicago, Illinois) is a retired American Minor League Baseball pitcher and is currently the pitching coach for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball.
Hickey went to the University of Texas-Pan American and was a first-team All-American in 1983. He went 16-2 in 19 starts with a 1.66 ERA and helped his team win 64 games, a school record. That season, his senior year, his 16 victories led all NCAA baseball. In that season, of his 19 starts he recorded 16 complete games; those 16 complete games were the third largest single season total in NCAA history at the time, and still rank 4th all-time.
Hickey was drafted in the 13th round of the 1983 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox. His best career season was in 1984, when he went 13-5 and had a 1.81 ERA in 49 relief appearances for the Single-A Appleton Foxes who were the champions of the Midwest League that year. He played in the White Sox' minor leagues from 1983 to 1987. In 1988, Hickey pitched for the Double-A San Antonio Missions in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. In 1989, he played for the Double-A Columbus Mudcats in the Houston Astros organization in what would be the final year of his playing career.
In 1998, Hickey was promoted to pitching coach for the Astros' Triple-A affiliate, the New Orleans Zephyrs. That year, the Zephyrs won the first-ever Triple-A World Series, pitting the PCl champion against the International League champion. In 2001, the Zephyrs had the second-best ERA in the PCL (3.75 to Tacoma's 3.74) en route to the Pacific Coast League championship. In 2002, Hickey was named a coach for the All-Star Futures Game in Milwaukee and also was a member of the coaching staff for the Triple-A All-Star Game. At the end of the 2002 season, he was named the Astros Player Development Man of the Year. In 2002 and 2003, Hickey's pitching staff led the Pacific Coast League in ERA with a 3.40 mark and a league-leading 11 shutouts.
Hickey was announced as the interim pitching coach for Houston on July 14, 2004, and was named the full-time pitching coach in October 2004 after 14 seasons as a pitching coach in their minor leagues and 7 with the Zephyrs.
In his first year with Houston, he helped the pitching staff which included Roger Clemens, Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Brandon Backe advance to the 2004 National League Championship Series. In 2005, the Astros advanced to the World Series, with Clemens (1st), Andy Pettitte (2nd), and Roy Oswalt (7th) in the National League in ERA. Houston was also second overall in the NL with a 3.51 ERA in 2005, and led the league with the fewest runs and walks allowed.