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Trickey set for Hall induction
SoVaNow.com / April 01, 2013One of the finest baseball players - and later, a successful volunteer coach - to come from Halifax County is headed to the Hall of Fame Saturday.
Todd Trickey will join this year’s Hall class in the induction ceremonies, Saturday night at the Halifax County Middle School cafeteria. The program begins at 6 p.m.
Trickey certainly has a strong resume, bolstered by a strong body of work as a Comet player and assistant coach, as well as a noteworthy career playing college baseball at Virginia Tech.
— Trickey is genuinely grateful for his induction. “It’s special to me because I grew up a fan of Halifax sports in general. There’s so many guys already in that Hall that I just watched, growing up, football, basketball and anybody else. I probably watched more sporting events at Halifax than anybody other than Hugh Moore and Addison Marable,” said Trickey.
Trickey lived next door to the high school, and could walk to sporting events. He saw tremendous Comet football, boys’ basketball and baseball teams, and he was introduced to some outstanding athletes.
Trickey played basketball and baseball for the Comets. He’s regarded for his baseball skills, but Trickey was good enough in hoops to merit a couple of small college offers in basketball.
He’s grateful for the considerable help and guidance he got from Addison Marable, Moore, Mason Day and Tigue Day. And one cannot discount the influence of Scooter Dunn, who was coaching at the junior high when Trickey was there. Trickey also got excellent coaching in baseball, including playing for Fred Palmore and Frosty Owens.
Trickey enjoyed some noteworthy moments as a Comet baseball player. His senior year in baseball here proved successful.
“It was really interesting. We had really struggled in baseball in high school, in baseball. We had played like .500. That’s kind of where we were in basketball.
“In baseball, (it was special). We kind of had a group of guys who came through the system together,” said Trickey, who recalled the Comets lost to Robinson of Fairfax in the Group AAA semifinals, 1-0, on a squeeze bunt with two strikes on the hitter.
The Comets had an excellent team, with a senior class that came through school together, including Zach Weddle, Dale Harris, Kenny Long, Burt Saunders, Tim Bomar and Allen Lawter. Most of that team went on to play college baseball.
And, of course, Trickey made his mark on the collegiate level.
Trickey had a heck of a career for the Hokies, but he had some preparation before he stepped on the field in college.
“When I walked on that Virginia Tech baseball field, I knew how to play the game of baseball. Those guys (his Halifax influences) had already taught me,” said Trickey.
Trickey threw a no-hitter in his freshman season against Old Dominion. It was the first no-no in the modern history of Tech baseball.
He went on to a very successful mound career at Tech, collecting a 27-8 career mark on the mound, tied for third most in career wins in Blacksburg.
Trickey figured he was headed to Elon, until some late exposure in his senior year led to offers from both Virginia and Virginia Tech.
“Not an easy decision,” said Trickey, assessing the choice between Virginia and Virginia Tech, but the Comet hurler ultimately decided to attend Hokieland. The Hokie coach, Chuck Hartman, was already an iconic coach, and the Virginia Tech program was stronger than the Cavalier baseball program. “Nothing against U.Va., two great instutitions. I probably could have been happy at either place. Looking back on it, I think I made the right decision for me,” said Trickey.
Trickey said he was prepared and had good coaching before he headed to Blacksburg.
“I was never a Jeremy Jeffress. I could never throw that hard. I had really good control. That was my strong point. I didn’t walk people.”
And Trickey had very stout Tech teams behind him. The first two years he was in Blacksburg, Tech won 98 ballgames. He had a very strong supporting cast in the Metro conference. After his sophomore year, the Hokies had eight players sign pro contracts. The team was loaded, including a first round draft choice, Franklin Stubbs.
Trickey started at Tech in 1981 and graduated in 1984.
Trickey’s supporting cast included a powerhouse club early in his Hokie career. In his sophomore season, the Hokies were ranked no. 3 in the nation in preseason. The Hokies were a powerful team, but, in those days, only one team from the Hokie’s conference, went to the NCAAs. Florida State, another national power, was also in the Metro, proving to be an obstacle for the Hokies’ NCAA plans. And the Metro was also a very potent conference then, too.
Tech had considerable turnover in Trickey’s junior year, but the Hokies were back over 40 wins in his senior season.
The former Comet standout never thought about pro ball. “My junior year, I had hurt my shoulder. Back in 1983, they didn’t have all that stuff (MRIs, and much more) they have now. We weren’t where we are right now with medicine by any means,” said Trickey.
He had a torn rotator cuff, which has never been fixed. Even then, Trickey, at his best, was a long shot as a right-handed pitcher, with a velocity of 87-88 mph. He didn’t stand out from the crowd, in the context of trying to move up in professional baseball.
Trickey, now 51, moved into private business after college. He lived in Lynchburg, and then Harrisonburg, with a bank. Then, he got a job with Universal Leaf, which allowed him to come home.
He found time to start coaching here, in the late 1980s. He had a long stint coaching with Dunn, serving as the pitching coach, during a period of sustained success for the Comet program.
Dunn is a local Hall of Famer, and he had a stellar mark at HCHS. Trickey has a very special relationship with the former Comet head baseball coach. Dunn “has been such a special part of my life. I don’t know, probably any decisions that I made under the age of 25 that I didn’t make without talking to him. He’s just a special, special person.
“I’ve often said, and I’ve told many, many people that I’ve only met two people in my life that loved the game of baseball as much as I had, Scooter Dunn and Chuck Hartman. I was a lucky guy on the face of this earth to play for both of them,” said Trickey.
“Helping coach with him (Dunn) and Allen (Lawter) was an unbelievable experience. We had so much fun. We had good kids, we had good teams. We probably didn’t win as much as we’d like to, but nobody wins as much as they like to,” said Trickey. “We had a ball out there. It was fun,” said Trickey, as he strove to provide a positive experience for the HCHS players.
“I really enjoyed working with the kids. And it was a special experience for me,” said Trickey.
Trickey felt he had gotten considerable help as a youngster growing up in Halifax County. He certainly wanted to give back, and he has assisted young baseball players. Trickey went on to coach successfully for the South Boston Dixie Youth program, along with a stint in pre-Majors, the Dixie Majors, and later the American Junior Legion, where he helped direct the players into the state tournament.
The former Comet also has an excellent mind for the game of baseball. “I learned from good people. And I always try to learn and absorb and take the best of everything I could get from other people,” said Trickey. Trickey’s stepson, Robert Carter, is the jayvee baseball coach at HCHS. Trickey is very proud of Carter and his his work with the jayvee program.
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