June 16, 2024

New Chicago White Sox infielder Nicky Lopez is having fun with essentially the most unforgettable offseason of his life.

That was true even earlier than receiving an honor Friday that he mentioned ranks among the many better of his accomplishments.

“It’s been an eventful offseason, for certain,” Lopez mentioned. “A day earlier than I obtained married, I obtained traded from the Braves to the White Sox.

“That was one thing I received’t take with no consideration, simply to have the ability to come again and play for a hometown crew, which is one thing particular.”

However getting the decision for the Naperville Central Athletic Corridor of Fame is equally particular for Lopez, 28, who graduated from the varsity in 2013 after incomes 5 varsity letters in baseball and basketball. He was inducted Friday, becoming a member of a Corridor of Fame that already included Candace Parker, Anthony Parker, Owen Daniels, Sean Payton and Casey Krueger.

“one hundred pc it’s up there, solely as a result of it means a lot not solely to me however my household,” Lopez mentioned. “That is the place it began.

“This can be a steppingstone for the journey that I’m nonetheless on. In order that’s what I’m most grateful for, that I’m coming again and seeing all of the academics who’ve helped me turn into who I’m. That’s why it’s a bit bit extra particular.”

These academics embody Naperville Central basketball coach Pete Kramer and baseball coach Mike Inventory, who had been proud to be a part of the induction ceremony held earlier than the boys basketball recreation in opposition to Neuqua Valley.

“It being Nicky, there was lots of pleasure within the constructing, and that will have been the case even when he was enjoying for the Braves,” Inventory mentioned. “However the reality he’s with the Sox provides one other layer.

“It’s only a blast. It’s one of many rewards that you just get from being round individuals like this on a regular basis. We wish to be sure that we sluggish it down and rejoice. He’s a fantastic younger man from a fantastic household.”

Additionally inducted Friday had been 2006 graduate Erica Carter, who helped Naperville Central’s women basketball crew win two state titles and scored greater than 1,000 factors at Binghamton; pioneering feminine athlete Lois Madsen, a 1975 graduate who turned the primary individual to earn a full volleyball scholarship at Northern Illinois; wrestling star Rodney Landorf, a 1962 graduate who turned an Military officer and obtained a Bronze Star within the Vietnam Struggle; and late wrestling coach Invoice Younger.

“I haven’t been again to Naperville since a couple of months after I graduated,” Carter mentioned. “There are such a lot of wonderful instances that occurred all through highschool and my athletic profession.

“Strolling by the hallways, it brings again lots of good reminiscences, and I really feel honored to be part of the Corridor of Fame. I do know there are such a lot of student-athletes that undergo the constructing at Naperville Central, and it’s simply been a day full of wonderful reminiscences.”

Lopez’s household, together with his dad and mom Bob and Angela and brothers Bobby and Anthony, nonetheless lives in Naperville. Angela Lopez offered him for induction.

“Clearly, this honor is humbling,” Nicky Lopez mentioned. “You at all times hear annually of individuals getting inducted, so to have the ability to add to the listing is superior.”

Erica Carter is inducted into the Naperville Central Athletic Hall of Fame in Naperville on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

After graduating from Naperville Central, Lopez performed baseball at Creighton and was picked by the Kansas Metropolis Royals within the fifth spherical of the 2016 MLB draft. When the Royals known as him up in 2019, he turned the primary Naperville Central graduate to play within the main leagues.

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Lopez, who has a .249/.312/.319 profession slash line, was a Gold Glove finalist at second base in 2020 and have become the primary Royals shortstop to hit .300 in 2021. He performed elements of 5 seasons in Kansas Metropolis earlier than being traded in July to the Braves, whom he helped win the Nationwide League East title.

Lopez mentioned he’s thrilled to affix the White Sox, who acquired him in November.

“I grew up going to White Sox video games,” he mentioned. “I went to Recreation 2 of the World Collection in 2005, so simply having the ability to put the jersey on, wow, it’s cool.”

Kansas City Royals infielder Nicky Lopez bats during a game against the Minnesota Twins in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.

Lengthy recognized for his humble, hardworking strategy to the sport, Lopez is fast to share credit score for his ascent.

“Whenever you come to highschool, clearly you’re there to study, however you’re there to develop and in addition study life classes, and these academics each step of the way in which helped mould me,” he mentioned. “Whether or not it was my English instructor or math instructor, we’ve all had conversations with them which have helped me get to the place I’m at.

“I can’t thank them sufficient. They’ve completed so good by me with all of the respect and love that they’ve proven, and I be in contact with them.”

Matt Le Cren is a contract reporter for the Naperville Solar.