Khalifa's father, Rashad Khalifa, was murdered, and the murder investigation remained cold until recently. The New York Times reports this about Sammy Khalifa:
Despite his middle-age paunch and the fatigue he wears on his face, Khalifa still resembles the handsome, dark-featured 22-year-old on his 1986 baseball card. In the mid-1980s, Khalifa was both the rare Muslim baseball player and, according to Major League Baseball, the very first son of an Egyptian to play in the big leagues. His boyhood narrative included a year spent playing on a makeshift sand field in Tripoli, Libya.
The Arab world back story lent some flavor to his steady development from the minors to the major leagues. The Pirates drafted him in the first round in 1982 out of Tucson’s Sahuaro High School, and by 1985, with Pittsburgh going through a series of shortstops, Khalifa replaced an injured Johnnie LeMaster in the starting lineup.
In the end, Khalifa played parts of three seasons in Pittsburgh, but by the 1989 season he found himself being moved around the infield on the organization’s Class AAA affiliate in Buffalo, plagued by the sense that the organization had given up hope that he would ever be its everyday shortstop. One night during a road trip, Khalifa missed a team bus and simply flew home. Five months later his father was killed, upending his life further, and dashing whatever thoughts he had of spring training with another team.
A recent murder trial produced the conviction of Glen Francis for Rashad Khalifa's murder. The tone of the article suggests that Khalifa still mourns over his father's death.