Mike Hegan, an original member of the Milwaukee Brewers and later a broadcaster for the team before moving on to call games for 23 years for the Cleveland Indians, died Wednesday at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., after a long illness.
The news was announced by the Indians on their Twitter account. Hegan was 71.
The son of legendary Cleveland catcher Jim Hegan was playing for the Seattle Pilots when they were bought out of bankruptcy in 1970 by Bud Selig and his ownership group and moved to Milwaukee. During the Brewers' inaugural season, Hegan batted .244 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 148 games.
The left-handed-hitting first baseman/outfielder was sold to the Oakland Athletics on June 14, 1971 and in 1973 was dealt to the New York Yankees, for whom he had begun his big-league career in 1964. He returned to the Brewers in 1974 and played with them until retiring after the '77 season.
Hegan played in 586 games with the Brewers, batting .249 with 42 home runs and 188 RBI. He became the first Brewer to hit for the cycle on Sept. 3, 1976, when he went 4 for 5 with six RBI against Detroit's Mark Fidyrch at Tiger Stadium.
Since 1981, he lent his name to Mike Hegan's "Field of Dreams," a batting cage and instructional facility in New Berlin.
Hegan won a World Series ring with Oakland in 1972, serving mostly as a pinch hitter and backup first baseman and also appeared in the '64 Series with the Yankees.
In 965 career games in the majors, Hegan batted .242 with 53 homers and 229 RBI. He batted .292 with eight homers and 37 RBI in 95 games for Seattle in '69 and made the all-star team but had to withdraw with a hamstring injury. He hit the first home run in franchise history in his first at-bat with the team on opening day.
A slick fielder at first base, Hegan held the American League record with 178 consecutive errorless games at the position until it was broken by Boston's Kevin Youkilis in 2007.
After Hegan retired as a player, he took a job as a radio and television broadcaster for the Brewers. He spent 12 years as an analyst for Milwaukee before being hired by Cleveland in 1989 to broadcast Indians games on both radio and TV.
Beginning in 2007, Hegan worked exclusively on the radio, pairing with longtime broadcast partner Tom Hamilton and later with Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus in a three-man booth. Hegan retired from broadcasting after the 2011 season and was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame that year.
Hegan is survived by wife Nancy, two sons and four grandchildren.
By Tom Haudricourt - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MCT)
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