South KC Man Honored as First Recipient of the KC 3&2 Legacy Award
By Christina McDonough Hunt
The 3&2 Baseball Club of Kansas City, Missouri, honored John Hager as the first recipient of the annual KC 3&2 Legacy Award on October 10. Over 180 people came to show their appreciation to a man who has touched so many lives in the baseball community.
“I am honored,” said Hager. “This ranks right up there with when I got to go to the Rose Garden at the White House with a client and eat dinner with President Reagan!”
Hager coaches KC 3&2’s Midget C division for those 10 years old and under. He has been coaching at 3&2 for over 54 years and has served on the board for 48 of those years, with the last 41 as board president.
“I still love coaching and it’s because of the kids,” Hager commented. “Those early morning Saturday practices are my favorite. I love seeing these young men improve and become confident.”
Hager has seen many boys come through the league, and even coached a few whose baseball efforts went pro. He fondly remembers coaching men such as Chuck Mount, who played AA for the KC Royals and Chicago White Sox, and AAA for the Chicago Cubs; Joey Wentz, who will play AAA for the Detroit Tigers this year; and David Cone, who played MLB for the KC Royals, NY Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, and NY Yankees (he is the current commentator for the NY Yankees).
Hager recognizes that most of the boys he’s coached over the years will not make it to the Major League. But he is most excited for the many college baseball scholarships that his players have received.
Hager credits his longevity in the league to the players, great parents and his coaches–many have been with him for years.
“I’ve had great coaches,” he said. “Many of these men didn’t even have kids on the team.”
Hager was honored with the Legacy award during a fundraiser for improvements to the KC 3&2 baseball fields at Bannister and Blue River roads. The FundANeed portion brought in over $27,000 and will pay for improving the backstops, completing the fences and repairing dugouts for three of the fields.
The Baseball Club of 3&2 has been serving Kansas City’s baseball community for over 75 years, and Hager has been a coach for the majority of those years. He’s not sure when he’ll retire, but he’s grateful to see how far the league has come.
“I hope to see this league continue for a long time,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”