“#44”

Simultaneously, he was born in Marion, Ohio — and into Red Sox Nation — on August 21, 1995. That night, the Red Sox defeated the Angels in Anaheim 6-4,(on their way to their first division title since 1986). From that moment on, James Nicholas Longo Jr. seemed destined to be a baseball player.

In September 1996, he was photographed in front of the Fenway Park dedication plaque, near the team’s offices. In 1997, he started golfing baseballs left-handed with a toy souvenir bat. On Sunday July 19, 1998, he saw his first Red Sox game live — a 3-1 Boston defeat at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. When that game ended, he wanted to go down to the Tiger Stadium field and start running the bases. During his time on this Earth, Jimmy has returned to Fenway twice, and watched the Red Sox countless times in Detroit and Cleveland. Since he turned nine, the Red Sox have won the World Series three times.

Jimmy started playing T-ball in 2002 and never looked back. Tonight, he played his last game ever for River Valley (a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Big Walnut in a Central District baseball sectional final). Jimmy’s legacy is not only one of athletic and academic excellence, but also being the best son a parent could ever have. We love you, #44!

Here is a tribute to Jimmy and his athletic career at River Valley, in the words of the Chairman of the Board — Frank Sinatra.

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