The Chicago White Sox fired groundskeeper Nevest Coleman 23 years ago, after he was convicted of rape and murder. But now, the team has re-hired the man since it was learned he was falsely convicted and freed from jail.
Coleman, now 49-years-old, spent nearly all of the last 23 years in jail after his conviction, but he was finally exonerated after DNA evidence proved his long-proclaimed innocence. Coleman was afforded a certificate of innocence by a Cook County judge in November and was freed from jail, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Coleman’s second chance in the big leagues is the culmination of a dream he dreamed many times while sitting in jail wrongfully convicted.
“I’d wake up in the morning proud to go to work,” Coleman said remembering his life with the White Sox before he was sent to jail. “A lot of times, you get people who get jobs, you go to work, you be like, ‘I don’t want to go.’ Here, I loved it.”
Once he was released, the exonerated man had told his family that he hoped to go back to his old job.
“I want to sit back for a while, get to know my family, and when the time comes around, go back to Comiskey Park,” Coleman said he told his family.
“His first wish, before he wished for a hamburger, was to work for the White Sox. That’s exactly what I told them,” local Rev. William Vanecko told the media in substantiation of Coleman’s hopes to get back to work.
The team was only too happy to fulfill Coleman’s dearest wishes.
“We’re grateful that after more than two decades, justice has been carried out for Nevest,” the Sox said in a statement. “It has been a long time, but we’re thrilled that we have the opportunity to welcome him back to the White Sox family. We’re looking forward to having Nevest back on Opening Day at home in our ballpark.”
Life with the White Sox crew at U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park in Coleman’s day) did move on without Coleman. A man who was Coleman’s co-worker in 1993 is now his boss. But Coleman doesn’t care. He’s just thrilled to have his life back.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.