Happy Birthday, Alonzo Hicks!

Alonzo Hicks was an Indiana, Pennsylvania outfielder who got a tryout with the Homestead Grays in 1947, but failed to stick.

The future slugger was born to Alonzo and Rubie Lee (Vaughns) Hicks in Clarksburg, WV on March 7, 1922. Alonzo and Rubie both hailed from Alabama, but left the south for better work opportunities in the coal mines near Charleston, WV and later Ernest, Pennsylvania. They had one son, Willie, before leaving Alabama around 1920, then two others (George, Alonzo) shortly after landing in West Virginia. Alonzo was the youngest.

Their dad quit school around the age of eight, but the three boys finished an eighth grade education in West Virginia before taking jobs in the mines or, as in the case of Alonzo, as laborers in the groceries and warehouses of the area. When World War II started, Alonzo enlisted, joining the US Navy in January, 1943 and serving through the end of 1945, finishing as a Steward’s Mate, First Class Petty Officer when he finished his tour.

Alonzo Hicks

After the war, the muscular built Hicks started playing regularly for the local semi-pro baseball teams in Ernest and later Indiana, Pennsylvania.  The left handed hitter spent most of his time in left field.  In 1946, he led Ernest to a County League crown, and a year later he was an all-star in the Rochester and Pittsburgh League.  One year, the slugging left fielder received the most all-star votes from area baseball fans.  With two exceptions, Hicks played ball in Indiana through 1955.  In 1947, he appeared in at least one game for the Homestead Grays.  And, in 1950 he played for a team in Ontario, Canada where he batted .380, finishing second in the race for a batting crown.  Along the way, he picked up the nicknames of Sunny and, when he played for Heilwood, “The Heilwood Hurricane.”

Soon after he returned from the war, Hicks married Rose Bud (Jones) Hicks. They had at least four children, including a son that died as a infant.

Hicks passed away on November 10, 1998 in Erie, Pennsylvania and is buried in a veterans cemetery there.


1910, 1930, 1940, 1950 US Censuses
PA Veterans Compensation Application, 1950.
WWII Registration Card

FindaGrave.com (Alonzo)
FindaGrave.com (Rose Bud Hicks)

“County Fans All-Star Team Selected; Play Lucerne Sun.,” Indiana Gazette, September 26, 1947: 12.

“Iron Horse Hurls Three Hitter Against Ernest,” Indiana Gazette, June 17, 1948: 24.

“R & P Baseball League Lifts Lid Saturday,” Indiana Gazette, May 13, 1948: 20.

Photo: Indiana Gazette, September 9, 1948: 20.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s