Courtesy of Corpus Christi Hooks

In nearly 25 years of broadcasting Minor League baseball, Matt Hicks has had only one goal: to make it to the Big Leagues. You might say that Hicks is the Crash Davis of broadcasters; a guy who refuses to leave the business because he is still pursuing his dream. As many El Pasoans might remember, Hicks was the radio voice of the Diablos for 10 seasons. When the team lost its Minor League affiliation in 2005, Hicks moved to Corpus Christi and spent the next eight seasons as the radio voice of the Double-A Hooks. A little more than a week ago, Hicks was summoned to the big leagues, but under the most unusual of circumstances.

On June 18th, Dave Barnett, the television play-by-play voice of the Texas Rangers had a bizarre description of a play between the Rangers and Padres. Barnett made little sense describing the action and video of the event soon went viral.

After the game, he was removed from the television side of the broadcasts and the Rangers sent him to doctors to try and find out the cause of his strange behavior. A few weeks back, Barnett told the Dallas Morning News that the preliminary diagnosis was an extreme migraine and he would take the rest of the season off for health reasons. With Barnett out, the Rangers moved former Major Leaguer Steve Busby from the radio side to the television booth. Then, they called Hicks and told him he would be flying to Dallas to join the Rangers’ radio team.

How did this veteran Minor League baseball broadcaster get the break to jump from Double-A baseball to the major Leagues? The Corpus Christi Hooks are owned by Nolan Ryan and Don Sanders. Ryan is also part of the Rangers’ principle ownership group and was aware of Hicks’ talents in the broadcast booth. It should be a surprise to no one that Hicks was given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He has always had the talent, but has never received the break to get into the major leagues. For the next three months, Hicks will team up with Eric Nadel in the Rangers radio booth. As tragic as the circumstances leading to Hicks' big league promotion might be, I hope the former voice of the Diablos makes the most of his opportunity and is there to stay.

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