Remembering Jim Hague, nearly one year after he left this world too soon

Jim Hague at Metlife Stadium watching his Rams taking on the Giants in 2021. Observer file photo

There have been so many times over the last year when I’d pick up my phone and prepare to send Jim Hague a text message or ring his mobile phone. Whether it was something the Devils or Rangers did, or another time the Mets found a new way to lose (like last week when a pitcher threw his glove into the stands in frustration), when Jason Bernstein told us he’d chosen his Athletes of the Year (to be announced soon) or countless other things.

And then it all hit — there could be no text. No call.

Hague died just about a year ago, June 11, 2023, aged 62. It was a Sunday most of us around here will never forget. It was as if it was all a bad dream, one that would bring great relief upon waking up.

But it was no dream. It was painfully real. And it led to one of the most remarkable sendoffs ever, as thousands of mourners flocked to St. Peter’s Prep to pay him homage.

Though I have seen her but once since Jim died, I often think of Jim’s widow, Mary Costello, whose life was forever changed that awful day last June. Somehow, however, from the looks of it, at least on social media, she’s managed to keep on keeping on.

Yet I don’t think it will ever feel any different, with that emptiness, those moments where Jim was always there  to give advice, to listen, to yell occasionally, that will never happen again. If it’s no different a year later, there’s little reason to think it will change much later.

But one thing is for sure — with the anniversary approaching, this is as good a time as ever to once again pay tribute to someone who, to me, was a legend. Hague was a giant, figuratively and literally. He forgot more about sports than most of us combined will ever know on our last day. While many people are replaceable, he simply isn’t. Nor will he ever be.

One year on, I miss Hague as much as I did the day I got that dreaded phone call. One year on, I wish I could have one more text or one more phone call with him. One year on, I hope he is looking down, alongside Tony Azzarto, S.J., and his dad and whose no longer on this earth, all while knowing no one will ever compare. Miss you, Jimmy.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.