Whereas I made my strategy to St. Paul’s The Apostle Church in Jersey Metropolis Thursday for his final sendoff I wasn’t precisely positive what to anticipate.
The highschool coaches and former athletes and mates stuffed the church as anticipated, however then, from the pulpit, got here what was a terrific “Hague Second” few if any had anticipated. Father Joseph Furnaguera, St. Paul’s pastor, warned these listening that this Homily was not going to be the traditional one. Why?
Sure he may cowl so many tales of Jim’s life and the individuals he impacted, however when if ever, may a priest stand on an altar to talk about a man who coated HIM…in faculty…as a baseball player at Rutgers-Newark just 11 years ago. Father Furnaguera advised the story of how final yr at a funeral, he crossed paths with Jim and advised him how he remembered him throughout his senior yr (the place apparently he was a heck of an infielder) and Jim IMMEDIATELY remembered his quantity and ran off all of his stats from his time enjoying at Newark’s Golden Dome.
That was quintessential Jim Hague…storyteller, joyful reporter, chronicler of the lives of 1000’s, and infrequently forgetting many and if he did he may fill within the blanks from comparable escapades or occasions he had seen.
Whereas everybody had a Jimmy story…sadly he’s the second Jimmy I’ve been near that we have now misplaced prior to now month; my good good friend, and an equally fanatical sports activities follower, Jimmy Dempsey (he was Packers and Yankees loyal, Hague was Mets and Rams) handed away in early Could…I wished to rattle off just a few that at all times made my good friend Hague so particular to me, lots of which haven’t come up within the tales of his devoted service in and round all sports activities in New York, New Jersey, Jersey Metropolis and particularly Hudson County.
So listed here are just a few did you is aware of…
–Jim liked the Odd Couple. He was one of many few mates I may feed strains to endlessly, with out ever lacking a beat.
-After we had our home in Bradley Seaside just a few summers, Jim was at all times a welcome visitor. Whereas sitting on the shore wasn’t his factor, we have been fortunate sufficient to be not removed from Kelly’s Bar, the place we ended up on just a few Saturday’s watching the Mets of the ‘90’s and having Turkey Sligo sandwiches with just a few drinks.
–He liked Elton John. We noticed EJ a minimum of 3 times collectively, and I bear in mind him dancing on the concourse of Madison Sq. Backyard ones evening to Crocodile Rock, whereas the ushers bopped with him. It was greater than becoming that his wonderful spouse Mary had EJ’s “Skyline Pidgeon,” Jim’s favourite track, on the funeral right now to get issues going.
–We tried and tried to see the Mets in particular person the previous few years. Twice we bought inside hours solely due to automotive points, or well being points that had began to mount, he couldn’t make it. What I do bear in mind so nicely is that of the numerous video games we noticed collectively at Shea and Citi Subject, we at all times sat someplace upstairs, out of the way in which, with loads of room. It was at all times one of the simplest ways to observe a sport. Top-of-the-line ones? August 6, 1989. Mets 2 Expos 1 in 14 innings. Why I do not forget that one I’m undecided apart from it was sweltering sizzling and after the Mets scored to win Jim sang Tom Petty’s “Gained’t Again Down” over and over as we exited Shea.
–Folks questioned what his electronic mail meant. OGSMAR. It’s GoRams (backwards).
–If we ever had a Hudson County athlete concerned in any occasion…a wrestler, and MMA fighter, a university observe star, Jim was your man. Jersey Journal. AP, Hudson Reporter, The Observer, he was there. After I was requested to assist Hudson catholic Excessive Faculty with a press convention once they named Leonard Marshall their head soccer coach, the primary particular person within the door? Jim Hague.
-When he was 16…an at all times huge 16…he satisfied Oakland A’s proprietor Charles Finley he was 18 and have become the PR director of the Minor League Jersey Metropolis Indians. Important much more so as a result of, he grew to become the babysitter for a younger Ricky Henderson as the long run star made his approach by means of the rubble of Roosevelt Stadium for a storied summer time (as was documented so well in Howard Bryant’s recent biography of Henderson…a lot in order that when advised of Jim’s passing by textual content on Sunday, Bryant despatched quite a few messages to clarify how JIM was one of the best interview of anybody within the e-book).
-And let’s additionally bear in mind when Henderson, on the finish of his profession returned to New Jersey to play Unbiased League ball for the Newark Bears, who was the PA announcer? Jim Hague.
–There have been additionally among the wonderful brushes with greatness and infamy Jim had. A well-known story about wrestling Darryl Dawkins. He additionally liked going to the Broadway and Off-Broadway exhibits I set to work on. He would ship me texts and photos from after we bought him backstage to fulfill one other of his appearing favorites, Dan Lauria, not one (after we did “Lombardi”) however twice (when Dan did an Off Broadway present referred to as “Dinner With The Boys”). And as at all times, he discovered a spot for a Jersey assessment of the exhibits, to provide a bit again for the possibility to fulfill the forged. Jim was at all times in regards to the payback.
-Yet one more to spherical out a high ten that would go on for some time. One of many first locations I met Jim was once I was the Sports activities Data Director at Monmouth School and Jim was working at St. Peter’s beneath their legendary SID Invoice Waldy. The Hawks took on the Peacocks in Jersey Metropolis, and their star level guard, Kevin Boyle, wanted 8 assists to interrupt the St. Peter’s profession help document. It wasn’t going to be that tough, Monmouth was nonetheless attempting to determine Division I hoops on the time, and the stat crew had him attain the milestone simply earlier than halftime. There was one drawback. He wanted eight assists and the Peacocks solely had seven discipline objectives. Jim, who I had simply met, laughed, and altered the 8 to six, so the document stood a bit longer. It made for a terrific Hague second although.
Sort to a fault, at all times keen to do the appropriate factor to the purpose the place someday he felt taken benefit of by individuals, at all times enthusiastic and able to pitch in, Jim was at all times there for thus many. I used to be completely satisfied to listen to that Hudson County is naming a youth sports activities award after him, it’s disappointing nobody did it whereas he was right here to nonetheless take pleasure in it although.
Nonetheless one line Father Furnaguera used right now actually summed up Jim’s life nicely lived.
“He used his presents for the sake of others.”
In a egocentric, self centered world, everybody can take that message to coronary heart. We’d like extra of Jim’s presents….laughter, a bit bluster, loyalty, pleasure…tons and many pleasure.
One last item. I can’t ever bear in mind, even after we spoke for the final time in March, did Jim ever not finish a dialog with me with out saying “I really like you brother.” And he meant it.
Jim Hague lived and liked everybody, and the hope is that his infectious enthusiasm, particularly for younger individuals, doesn’t get swept away.
Shedding him this week at age 62 was a tragedy, the actual tragedy can be if all these individuals he touched and helped don’t choose up the ball and perform a little one thing for another person within the coming months and years.
The large man did little issues that mattered. Similar to all of us ought to.
Love you Jim. Miss you at all times. Let’s Go Mets.