James Michael (Mike) HeganJames Michael (Mike) Hegan, 71, passed away peacefully on Christmas morning in Hilton Head, S.C., surrounded by his family. Mike was born July 21, 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in Lynn, Mass., and Lakewood, Ohio. He was the son of Jim Hegan, former catcher for the Cleveland Indians. After graduating from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Mike played baseball and football at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., before signing in 1961 with the New York Yankees, for whom his father had recently become a coach. He made his big-league debut in September 1964. From 1964 to 1977, Mike played for the Yankees, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Seattle Pilots, and the Oakland A's. Best known for his defensive skill as a first baseman, Mike played 178 consecutive games without committing an error from Sept. 24, 1970 as a Brewer until June 3, 1973 when he was with the A's. This major league record for first basemen stood until 2008. He was the first Brewers' player to hit for the cycle -a single, double, triple and home run in the same game. Mike was an All-Star in 1969 and played in two World Series - with the Yankees in 1964 and with the A's, who defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 1972. Mike retired from the Brewers in 1977 and worked as a television color commentator for the team. He returned to Cleveland in 1989 and broadcast Indians games on TV and radio for 23 seasons before retiring in 2011. Mike is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Nancy; sons Shawn (Betsy) and J.J. (Kathy); and his four grandchildren: Jack, Casey, Brigit and Connor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Mike Hegan at 10:30 am, Friday, January 3rd at St. Francis by the Sea Catholic Church. A reception will follow at the Country Club of Hilton Head. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, PO Box 3827, Bluffton, SC, 843-706-2296. The Island Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements. www.theislandfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Island Packet from Dec. 29, 2013 to Jan. 29, 2014