Whereas I made my approach 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 pals stuffed the church as anticipated, however then, from the pulpit, got here what was an excellent “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 folks 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 informed the story of how final yr at a funeral, he crossed paths with Jim and informed 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 hundreds, 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’ve got misplaced previously month; my good buddy, 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 needed to rattle off just a few that at all times made my buddy Hague so particular to me, a lot of which haven’t come up within the tales of his trustworthy 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 pals I may feed traces to endlessly, with out ever lacking a beat.
-Once 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 no less than thrice collectively, and I bear in mind him dancing on the concourse of Madison Sq. Backyard ones night time 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 tune, on the funeral right this moment to get issues going.
–We tried and tried to see the Mets in individual the previous couple of 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 effectively is that of the numerous video games we noticed collectively at Shea and Citi Area, we at all times sat someplace upstairs, out of the way in which, with loads of room. It was at all times the easiest way to look at a sport. Among the finest ones? August 6, 1989. Mets 2 Expos 1 in 14 innings. Why I keep in mind that one I’m unsure apart from it was sweltering sizzling and after the Mets scored to win Jim sang Tom Petty’s “Gained’t Again Down” time and again as we exited Shea.
–Folks questioned what his e-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. Once I was requested to assist Hudson catholic Excessive College with a press convention once they named Leonard Marshall their head soccer coach, the primary individual within the door? Jim Hague.
-When he was 16…an at all times massive 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. Vital much more so as a result of, he grew to become the babysitter for a younger Ricky Henderson as the longer term star made his method via the rubble of Roosevelt Stadium for a storied summer season (as was documented so well in Howard Bryant’s recent biography of Henderson…a lot in order that when informed 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 guide).
-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 a few of 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 known as “Dinner With The Boys”). And as at all times, he discovered a spot for a Jersey evaluate of the exhibits, to present slightly again for the possibility to fulfill the solid. Jim was at all times in regards to the payback.
-Yet one more to spherical out a prime ten that would go on for some time. One of many first locations I met Jim was after I was the Sports activities Info Director at Monmouth Faculty and Jim was working at St. Peter’s underneath 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 file. It wasn’t going to be that arduous, Monmouth was nonetheless making an attempt to determine Division I hoops on the time, and the stat crew had him attain the milestone simply earlier than halftime. There was one downside. He wanted eight assists and the Peacocks solely had seven area objectives. Jim, who I had simply met, laughed, and adjusted the 8 to six, so the file stood slightly longer. It made for an excellent Hague second although.
Type to a fault, at all times keen to do the appropriate factor to the purpose the place someday he felt taken benefit of by folks, at all times enthusiastic and able to pitch in, Jim was at all times there for thus many. I used to be glad 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 get pleasure from it although.
Nevertheless one line Father Furnaguera used right this moment actually summed up Jim’s life effectively lived.
“He used his items 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 items….laughter, slightly bluster, loyalty, pleasure…tons and plenty of pleasure.
One final thing. 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 like you brother.” And he meant it.
Jim Hague lived and liked everybody, and the hope is that his infectious enthusiasm, particularly for younger folks, doesn’t get swept away.
Dropping him this week at age 62 was a tragedy, the actual tragedy can be if all these folks he touched and helped don’t choose up the ball and do some 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.