Print this story

Jaffee sidebar and information on the Hall of Fame induction dinner

POSTED October 06, 2012
BY Patrick Tiscia
Twitter: @PatrickTiscia


I have known Mark Jaffee for 10 years and putting that time, along with an one-hour interview and 12 pages of quotes, into one story is an impossible task.

Here's, as they say, are some bonus nuggets, along with the information on his Hall of Fame induction dinner...

No one, I am willing to bet, knows more people than Mark. One a daily night at the Republican-American, it seems, he gets four to five calls out of nowhere from people. Whether it's an old coach, player, friend, player's family member, a fan or whoever, they are calling Mark asking for information or giving him a potential item for a story. His phone never stops ringing.

***

Jaffee's stat line as a writer is quite impressive. By his count, out of the 24 high school football programs the Rep-Am covers, he covered 14 of the current head coaches as players. On the baseball side, he covered 17 American Legion players that found their way to the Major Leagues.

Among the athletes he's covered include: Ex-UConn and NBA standout Scott Burrell of Hamden; NHL Hall of Famer from the New York Rangers Brian Leetch of Cheshire; ex-Boston Bruins star Craig Janney of Enfield; University of Florida and New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez of Bristol; San Diego assistant to the general manager Brad Ausmus, a veteran major league catcher from Cheshire; Olympic swimming hopeful and former training partner of Michael Phelps, Ben Michaelson of Seymour; NBA veteran Ryan Gomes of Waterbury; former New Jersey Nets forward Jordan Williams of Torrington; Minnesota Twins farmhand Pat Dean of Naugatuck.

If he had to narrow the list down to the best he's seen?

"Tebucky Jones of New Britain (and future Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots) was probably the best I have ever seen," Jaffee said. "On the track, on the basketball court or on the football field, he used to destroy people."

"Scott Burrell was maybe the best pure athlete and Rico Brogna was great as well."

***

For those that don't know, Jaffee is a fan of the Mets and Jets, teams that have given their followers a punch in the gut or two over the years. Working in the Rep-Am newsroom in the winter of 2010 brings back a classic memory for me.

At that time, the Mets' channel, SNY, was still not on Jaffee's cable system, and the team was coming off three horrendous finishes. Needless to say, Jaffee's patience regarding the Mets was at an all-time low.

One night, a simple press release came over the wire, advising the media the Mets had signed a journeyman pitcher to a minor league deal in hopes he could pitch his way into the rotation.

Jaffee was none too pleased, ripping the Mets' ownership for their cheap ways and vowed, for probably the 16,342th time, that he was done as a fan.

The pitcher they signed that day? R.A. Dickey.

"I was dead wrong about R.A.," laughs Jaffee. "He has a great story and been a wonderful inspiration for many people. But, I still say the Wilpons got lucky. They were being cheap and this just happened to work out."

***

Jaffee on being a high school writer and dealing with the issues it brings:

"There's frustrating moments as there is with any job. Dealing with the issues, such as teams not having rosters and keeping your own statistics comes with the territory. The days when every school is playing at the same time, for example, are tough. I try to be there for everything, but when I can't be there, I always try to find a way to give people their due."

***

The Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame induction dinner will be held Thursday, November 15 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. Tickets are $46 and for more information, contact John Fontana at (860) 628-4122.

Also, the inductees will be honored on the field at halftime of the UConn-Temple game on Oct. 13.

To purchase tickets, go to this link:

http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/1D0048B77E292387?artistid=821781&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=8

For more from Patrick Tiscia click here