Editor’s note: James T. Hogg, who now lives in Redlands, Calif., was a Weston selectman from 1967 to 1971 and owner of the Weston Real Estate Agency in Weston Center. Friends and family celebrated his 95th birthday on July 8.
This is a story about James T. Hogg, the best darn plate umpire Weston Little League has ever known.
When I was in Little League in Weston, I was not talented at bat. In part it was because I had not yet been diagnosed with poor eyesight. I couldn’t see the ball very well as it came rushing towards me and that was kind of frightening.
On those occasions when the ball hit me, I was not nearly as enthusiastic as the rest of my teammates who, I assume, figured that it was the only way I was going to get on base.
I recall Jim was often the plate umpire. He showed me a lot of patience when he would stop the game and push my tail a lot closer to the plate than I wanted to be. I would back up only to feel a firm but polite push on the tush.
I was under the tutelage of a coach who was very competitive so I pretty much sat on the bench the entire year.
Then, it was the final game of the season and we were playing for the pennant.
It was a kid’s worst nightmare. It was the bottom of the ninth and we were down by two runs. The bases were loaded and there were already two outs. Jim noted that I had not played yet and my coach was breaking some rule. I’d have been happy to sit it out but I was called to the plate.
Peter Glazer was the pitcher and he had one of those dreaded side-arm pitches and he threw a curve that looked like it was going to result in my wearing a colostomy bag for the rest of my life.
I managed to get two strikes pretty quickly. Most of my team was looking depressed.
I’m not sure whether divine intervention took place right there on the Hurlbutt Little League field, but I belted a triple and was so shocked that Jimmy had to remind me to start running.
• We won the pennant.
• My team buried me in a sweaty pile.
• My coach bought me as much ice cream as I could eat…
… and I ran all the way to Roger Manchester’s house, where Mother was consuming Manhattans, nervously awaiting the anticipated bad news.
If it had not been for the encouragement of James T. Hogg, I would have had nothing but bad memories of my Little League experience, but instead, all I can remember is glory and ice cream.
Thanks, Jimmy. You’re the best.