Former major leaguer offers inspirational story

Hearn speaking at benefit in Rochester

Ed Hearn will bring his message to Rochester. What a message it is.

This is the story of a former major league baseball player whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury.

But there's a lot more.

After his career was over, he underwent a kidney transplant. Then he underwent another kidney transplant. Then he underwent another kidney transplant.


After the third one, which was completed in May, 2002 at Mayo Clinic, he is doing just fine.

Hearn, 42, will tell his story Monday at the annual benefit golf tournament for the Rochester Gift of Life Transplant House, where he stayed for two weeks while undergoing his last transplant.

Hearn is recognized as one of the top inspirational speakers in the U.S. He has spoken to employees of some of the country's largest companies, including Nabisco and Merrill Lynch. He has written a book: "Conquering Life's Curves -- Baseball, Life and Beyond."

"By listening to my experiences, I hope I can turn one person's life around," he said, from his office in Kansas City. "I believe there's no greater satisfaction in life than knowing you've done something to help somebody else out."

Nothing has come easy for Hearn inside or outside of baseball.

Before the 1987 season started, Hearn was dealt to the Kansas City Royals in a trade that sent pitcher David Cone to the Mets.

That turned out to be the beginning of the end of Hearn's baseball career. He developed a shoulder problem in the 1987 season and eventually underwent reconstructive surgery. He didn't appear in a major league game after 1988. After waging a battle to return to the game, he retired from baseball.

Hearn developed other health problems shortly after that. "I went from being a major league catcher to someone who could hardly get out of bed," he said.


Hearn underwent a first transplant in 1991, getting a kidney from a cadaver. "My reaction was, 'Wow, how could this be happening?" he said.

The new kidney was failing in 1998 and he went back on dialysis five days a week.

In December of 2000, he underwent his second transplant, this time receiving a kidney from his aunt. "It lasted only five days," Hearn said. "That's very unusual."

Back on dialysis again.

Finally, in December of 2002, Hearn went to Mayo Clinic and underwent his third transplant, receiving a kidney from a Florida friend.

"Everything's been fine since then," he said.

Hearn talks about the ups and downs of his life in the 50 speeches a year he delivers. "Even if I played in the big leagues another 10 years, maybe earned another World Series ring or two, I can honestly say I would not be impacting people's lives the way I do now," Hearn said.

Bob Brown is the executive sports editor of the Post-Bulletin. He can be reached at


BOX; What: Rochester Gift of Life Transplant benefit dinner.

When and where: Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m. at the Rochester Golf and Country Club.

Guest speaker: Former major league baseball player and kidney transplant recipient Ed Hearn.

Cost: $35 per person, call Gift of Life House at 507-288-7470 to make reservations.

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