Henry James Hyde Jr., the eldest son of retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde and a former minor league baseball player, died Saturday after a battle with liver cancer. He was 55.

Hyde died at an Elk Grove Village hospice center, said the elder Hyde's spokesman, Sam Stratman.

After his first year at Loyola University in New Orleans, Hyde was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and played for the Niagara Falls Pirates. In 1973, he was signed by the Atlanta Braves as a free agent and pitched for the Greenwood Braves in South Carolina.

Hyde spent parts of two seasons with the Greenwood Braves before suffering a career-ending arm injury.

"He pitched against major leaguers in spring training games and struck out Lou Piniella and Hank Aaron," said the younger Hyde's brother Tony. "He loved those stories."

Hyde returned to Chicago and along with his three siblings, he volunteered on his father's political campaigns. At the time of his death, Hyde was a revenue agent with the Illinois secretary of state's office.

His father, an Illinois Republican, announced in April that he would not seek re-election when his term expires next year.