Atmore Icon: Lou Vickery

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vickery is shown in his New York Yankees baseball uniform.

Vickery is shown in his New York Yankees baseball uniform.

Atmore native Lou Vickery was once a New York Yankees teammate with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, but has since come back home and become a well-known radio personality and author.

The host of 105.1 FM’s “Lou in the Morning” never played a regular season Major League Baseball game, but was a member of the Yankees when they faced the newly named Houston Astros in the first baseball game ever played at the New Orleans Superdome, during spring training in 1965.

Vickery said Mantle hit a home run in that game.

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“I didn’t think about it much at the time,” Vickery said of playing with Mantle and Maris. “We were all just players.”

Vickery, a left-handed pitcher for the organization, was placed on the disabled list when the season started.

“I had three pitches: Slow, slower and much slower,” he said. “I couldn’t break a window pane before the arm problem — I might’ve cracked it — but after, it would’ve just bounced off the window.”

He joked that his best pitch was an “at-‘em” pitch, where he hoped opposing batters would hit the ball right at his infielders.

The 1959 graduate of Escambia County High School played baseball, football and basketball at the school before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

“It was a family decision to go to the pros,” Vickery said.

He did promise his mother, Ruth, that he would get a college education and attended then-Troy State University during the off-season, graduating at the age of 28.

He discovered writing during his down time throughout the various baseball seasons and began writing books in 1980. He has published 11 books and finished a 12th, he said.
“I won’t stop writing until I can’t do it anymore,” he said.

Vickery spent nine seasons playing professional baseball all over the country, from Billings, Mont., to Atlanta, back when it was the AAA affiliate of the Cardinals.

He was a pitching coach in the Cardinals organization for one year and coached football at Charles Henderson High School for a season before working at Merrill Lynch in New York City.

He left there after four years, realizing that “it wasn’t my cup of tea.” He went into sales training when he realized “I was pretty good at talking to groups of people.”

He worked in sales training for three or four different companies over the span of 29 years until he retired.

Vickery stayed retired for six months, but began his career in radio filling in at a sports talk show in Birmingham. He moved back to south Alabama nine years ago to continue in radio and he and his wife, Dana, moved back to Atmore about four years ago.

“I’ve been blessed,” he said. “I’ve probably met 3 million people in my lifetime.”

He said he has been blessed in his family life, as well. He has two sons, Lance and Kevin; two grandsons, Drew and Max; two stepdaughters; an 18-month-old step-granddaughter, Harper and his sister, Sheryl Vickery, who is executive director of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce.

He is also a member of the choir at First United Methodist Church.