A few years back, I began to notice a familiar name as a byline on sports stories in our local newspaper. I had known Sean Jacquet for some time; we lived in the same neighborhood and he was friends with my son. I bumped into him at some point and told him I thought that he wrote well, and both of us having been journalism majors, we compared notes.
Not quite a year ago, Sean contacted me to see if I had any interest in a new venture in which he was involved. He told me about Patch and its plans for Holliston, and when the site went online in November, I was on board.
Since then, I have had the privilege of working with Sean, who I learned was understanding, perceptive and very smart. I have been given more freedom than I deserved in writing about the things that are important to me. Sean has endured my politics, tolerated and corrected my punctuation, and praised me when it was deserved. He has provided me with a vehicle by which I can express myself, while allowing me to believe there was worth in my words.
Today is Sean’s last day with Patch. It is a day I have anticipated but selfishly do not welcome. While I absolutely wish for Sean’s future personal and professional happiness, I know it will be impossible for me to replicate our relationship with someone else. And that thought leaves me a little sad.
Life will go on at Patch, and I’ll continue to fulfill my weekly obligation. But I’ll miss the knowledge that somewhere at the end of this electronic string, there is someone from my neighborhood looking out for me. Thank you Sean, and good luck.
THE WRIGHT WAY TO PLAY BALL
Sunday was a good day for George Wright, and as he gently rocked on the front porch of his Savin Hill home, he had time to reflect.
History may record that Wright died at the age of 90 in 1937, but in the time-warped world that is The Boston Red Stockings Vintage Base Ball Club, he is still very much alive. And boy, can that man play ball.
Wright was the star of the Boston Red Stockings, the city's first professional team, which dominated the National Association from 1871-75. Their vintage descendants, a new sister team to the Mudville Base Ball Club, made their official debut Sunday when they hosted the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings in a game played on Boston Common. The game was scheduled to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Red Stockings move from Cincinnati to Boston.
The Vintage Red Stockings were created to act as a form of living museum for the original Boston team, with Mudville players adopting the playing characteristics and personalities of original team members. And as Wright was the star of the 1871-75 squad, so was Wright - looking amazingly like Mudville’s David Robinson - the star in Sunday’s encounter. His solid 3-for-4 performance with two long doubles at the plate paled, however, in comparison to his stunning fielding exploits. In one inning alone, he dove fully extended to make a barehanded catch of the ball inches above the turf for an out, before following it with a one-hand, barehanded snag of another. Absolutely unbelievable.
Wright’s plays helped the Boston squad top their Cincinnati brethren 17-10. Al Spalding, looking amazingly like Mudville’s Peter Barbieri, went the distance for Boston, with Deacon White (looking amazingly like Brian Sheehy), Frank Heifer ( LAL Eddie Paletsky), Frank Barrows (LAL Steve Lawless), Cal McVey (LAL Kevin Conley) and the great Sam Jackson (LAL Keith Buday) providing offensive support.
Both teams were delighted to meet Denny George Wright, great grandson of George before the game. It was a first meeting of great-grandfather and great-grandson, who was obviously born after 1937. After the game, both teams traveled to Dorchester for photos at Wright’s former home, once beautiful but now lacking for attention.
Sunday’s game concluded a wonderful weekend, as Mudville had defeated the Ipswich Brewers 12-4 in Newbury on Saturday.
SENIOR SOFTBALL REGISTRATION DATE ANNOUNCED
Do you want to play softball?
If so, the Holliston Super Senior Softball League will be holding its registration on Sunday, August 28 from 7 to 7:30 p.m. at Casey’s Public House. The League is open to Holliston residents aged 35 and older and costs $50.
League participants are chosen for their prospective teams in a coach’s draft, so that unlike the spring season, teams change from year to year. Wooden bats are used, with all games played at Damigella Field on Sunday nights from early September through October.
Those with questions should address their inquiries to yours truly at email@example.com.
LEGION TO HOST SEPT. 11 BREAKFAST
Nine local police officers and firefighters will be awarded American Legion medals of merit, recognizing their efforts on behalf of public safety. Other invited guests include the Holliston Board of Selectmen, Police Chief John Moore, Fire Chief Michael Cassidy and Sen. Karen Spilka.
The breakfast and ceremony are open to the public, with seating limited to 125. Tickets are $5.00 each and available at the Town Clerk's office. The event begins at 7:30 a.m.
A TOWN REMEMBERS ITS FALLEN SON
Things were different in 1981. I received the news in a phone call from home, and seeking more information, dialed in WBZ on the radio at night, hoping that its strong signal might find my home in the Hudson River Valley.
The news was not good. Through the hiss and crackle, I heard that a Holliston police officer had been shot and killed, that his alleged killer had been found following a massive search and that the town was in a state of mourning.
Thirty years can be a lifetime, and for Officer John Johnson, who was 31 when struck down, it was. I didn’t know Officer Johnson, and other than for shouting at me for speeding down Marked Tree Road, I don’t think we ever interacted.
But in the sense that everyone in a small town knows everybody else, I did know Officer Johnson. Our mothers had double-dated in high school and our sisters were and remain the best of friends. Officer Johnson’s family was and remains an integral part of our community, and is tightly woven into the fabric that is our town.
Officer Johnson was six years older than I, and the passing of time has clearly placed us in the same generation. Officer Johnson represents the best of that generation, a man who dedicated and gave his life for the protection of those dearest to him. It’s an often-used cliché, but I believe that for Holliston baby boomers, Officer Johnson’s death represented a loss of innocence and an introduction of real world issues for which we were not quite prepared.
Officer Johnson was remembered Saturday morning in a brief ceremony at the police station recognizing the 30th anniversary of his death. Holliston police officers of the past and present, as well as officers from several nearby towns, stood with family and friends in silent tribute to a son of Holliston, who went to work one night and never came home.
Sleep well, John, you are not forgotten.