THE HICKS BROTHERS, Ted, left, and Al, are recognized internationally for their softball talents, especially hitting. TED is considered one of the country’s best right-handed hitters on the Decatur (IL) ADM nationally ranked team, while Al is ‘Mr. Consistency’ for Missouri power Walnut-Woods of St, Joseph. Constitution-Tribune Photo by Bob Carter
By BOB CARTER / The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune Sports Editor
July 31, 1984
CHILLICOTHE, MO – The Mary Jane Hicks family held its typical fun-loving summer reunion at the Tomahawk homestead Sunday afternoon.
Like many reunions before, fastpitch softball was the talk of the day.
But this time, there was special emphasis placed on the upcoming ASA National Fastpitch Softball Tournament scheduled to open at Phil Welch Stadium in St. Joseph on Friday, Sept. 7.
Mary Jane’s three sons, will hold another reunion on the national softball turf, but this time, they’ll be playing on opposing teams.
Al, at a ripe age of 44, is Mr. Handy Man on the St. Joseph Walnut-Woods team, the tournament’s host team.
Al, called “Papa” by his teammates, will be used in his familiar role as the team’s designated hitter.
The popular St. Joseph police officer, who has played for five different St. Joseph softball teams, knocked the cover off the ball last season, batting a sizzling .400. This season, Al is batting a respectable .300.
Although gradually losing his foot speed, Al hasn’t lost his tough at the plate, ranking among the best Walnut-Woods has to offer.
“I still see the ball good and I make contact,” Hicks said. “That’s the key to hitting.”
How many playing years are left? Hicks isn’t sure, but he’s not ready to hang up the cleats yet.
“I love the game,” he said. “As long as I can contribute and someone wants me, I’ll continue to play. I’ve been playing ball ever since I took up walking. It’s been an important part of my life.”