The El Dorado Broncos sought Hooper to play for them after he won the Jayhawk League batting title with a .387 average playing for the Liberal Bee Jays in 1997. Hooper played for the Broncos in 1998 and hit for a .349 average (66 for 189). Batting lead-off, he finished the season with 31 walks to only 13 strikeouts. His walk-to-strikeout ratio is the best by a Bronco dating back to 1978 when they were in Hutchinson. Hooper’s on base average was .450.
In addition to being an outstanding lead-off hitter, Hooper was a standout in the field. Playing shortstop, he had a .955 fielding percentage. In 221 chances, he made just 10 errors.
Kevin helped lead the Broncos to their fourth overall NBC World Series Championship. In the World Series, he handled 30 chances in 7 games with only 1 error for a .967 fielding percentage. In the tournament, he batted .287 and drove in 7 runs.
During the time Hooper was spending his summers in the Jayhawk League, he was a four year star at Wichita State University, and helped the Shockers reach the College World Series in 1996. While at WSU, he helped lead the Shockers to the NCAA Tournament all 4 years. He finished his career at WSU with a .358 batting average and still ranks in the top 15 in Shocker history in runs (5th, 287), hits (11th, 310), doubles (12th, 58), triples (9th, 17) and walks (6th, 189).
Hooper was drafted in the 8th round by the Florida Marlins in 1999. By just his third full professional season, in 2002, he had reached AAA with the Calgary Cannons of the Pacific Coast League. Midway through the season, he amassed a 31 game hitting streak in which he was 48 for 127 (.348). Hooper totaled six seasons at Triple-A including back-to-back International League championships with the Toledo Mud Hens in 2005 and 2006.
Kevin had brief call-ups to the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and again in 2006. He collected his first Major League hit on July 21, 2005 with a single off of Minnesota Twins left-hander Terry Mulholland. Hooper played one more year in AAA with the Mud Hens in 2007 and hit .301.
Hooper returned to Kansas in 2008 to play for the Wichita Wingnuts during their inaugural season where he won the American Association batting title with a .373 average that ranked 40 points above the next best hitter. The 40 point margin is the largest in American Association history. Kevin also stole 33 consecutive bases without getting caught and was never thrown out by an opposing catcher in 35 steal attempts.
In all, Hooper played 10 years in the Minors including 6 at AAA. For his Minor League career, he posted a .280 batting average and a .980 fielding percentage. Kevin retired from playing after the 2008 season and became the Wingnuts manager in 2009. He has guided the Wingnuts to 5 consecutive winning seasons and an overall record of 298-202 (.589).
Hooper now resides in Valley Center with his wife Lindsey and daughters Lucy and Laney.