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In Memorium: Harold Philip Hecken, Jr.

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It’s a sad time here at Uni Watch, as bench coach Phil Hecken’s father, who’d been in declining health for some time, passed away yesterday.

I regret that I never got a chance to meet Phil’s dad. When Phil and I became friends after he started working for me a few years ago, he would often say that the two of us plus our two fathers — all four of us big Mets fans — should go to a ballgame together at Shea. Unfortunately, my own father fell ill soon after that, and then Phil’s dad began having medical issues of his own, so it never happened.

When my Pop died two summers ago, it was after a two-month period of repeated hospitalizations, medical procedures, and so on. Those two months were extremely difficult and stressful, but I’m sure it was nothing compared to what Phil and his family have been going through, because his father was sick for quite some time. Phil doesn’t like to let on, but I’m pretty sure this has been weighing very heavily on him for most of the time he’s been involved with Uni Watch. (Despite this, he’s never let the situation affect his work here on the site. When his father recently took a turn for the worse, I suggested that I should reschedule my summer break, to take some pressure off of him, but he wouldn’t hear of it.)

We’ll be closed today out of respect to Phil and his family. All my deepest condolences go to them. I hope they — and Phil’s father, of course — can finally get some peace after their long ordeal. R.I.P. ”” Paul

Comments (96)

    I give you crap but definitely not today or for awhile. My thoughts are with you Phil. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Condolences. I think we all are an extended family in a strange way. Your father will be missed. Take care Phil.

    He isn’t much in the eyes of the world
    He’ll never make history
    No, he isn’t much in the eyes of the world
    But he is the world to me

    My dad, now here is a man
    To me he is everything strong
    No, he can’t do wrong, my dad

    My dad, now he understands
    When I bring him troubles to share
    Oh, he’s always there, my dad

    When I was small I felt ten feet tall
    When I walked by his side
    And everyone would say “That’s his son”
    And my heart would burst with pride

    My dad, oh I love him so
    And I only hope that some day
    My own son will say
    “My dad now here is a man”
    My Dad
    â„— 1962 Paul Petersen

    Phil –

    No words can take away the pain. Hopefully, knowing that you have hundreds/thousands/I-have-no-friggin-clue of regular readers thinking of you and offering our support right now will provide at least a little comfort through the coming days. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Agreed, and those of us who have lost a dad understand what you’re going through right now. Phil, my condolences go out to you and your family.

    My condolences to Phil.

    Hey, did anyone notice that the Browns will be wearing white in all of their home games this coming season, if there is a season?


    Thoughts and prayers are with you and yours, my friend. So sorry for your loss.

    Hang in there, Phil. Think of all the good times you and your father had together.

    Phil, my deepest condolences to you and your family. I know all too well the pain of losing your father, having just passed the 10th anniversary of his passing. No words can describe the feeling. Tears seem to be the best way to deal with it. I know he is in a better place now, where stirrups are never worn backwards, and no logo creep is visible on any uniform. Phil, if you ever need anything feel free to let me know; even if it is just to vent.

    Mike Obie

    Phil —

    My condolences to you and your family. Been there, my friend. Stay strong and remember the good.


    I’m really sorry for your loss. The sadness and pain that comes with a struggle like this is indicative of the joyful memories you and your family shared with your father. Take heart in those times, and be well.

    Very sorry to hear about your loss, Phil. You and your family are in my thoughts.


    Sorry to hear of your father’s passing. His memories/energy lives on.

    If I can help in any way around here Phil, while Paul is out, just drop me a line.

    Again, kind thoughts and prayers to you and yours, Phil. I hope you find strength and comfort in the people and things you love.

    I hate to see the site closed, but I completely understand. My condolences to Phil and his family.

    Phil, Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. May God be with you and your family in this tough time.

    Condolences on your loss. Saw my first Mets game with my dad (and grandfather and uncles) at the Polo Grounds back in ’62, and then he passed in ’76. Went to many a game afterwards, but it wasn’t the same. Hang in there.

    As a fan of the site and going through my own father’s declining health, I sympathize and my thoughts are with you and your family.


    My sincere condolances on your loss. I hope you and your family can find strength and understanding in these words-

    “They are not dead
    Who live in lives
    They leave behind.
    In those whom they have blessed
    They live a life again.”


    I am terribly sorry to hear about your loss. My condolences to you and your family. God Bless.


    I am sorry for your family’s loss.

    May your dad rest in peace.


    I, too, offer my condolences. I recently lost my grandmother and now my wife’s father is dealing with some serious health issues.

    In time the sadness will pass and you will remember fondly the times y’all had together.

    Phil, I’ve admired your work load, your work ethic, the quality of your work. Obviously, your father had reason to be proud.

    Juggling a long illness is taxing for all involved, making your work all the more admirable. We tend to focus on those who are ill, and that is necessary. But caretakers don’t get the appreciation they deserve.

    Bless you, Phil. Bless your father. May you enjoy and cherish your memories. For those of us who still have our fathers, let’s schedule a ball game ASAP.

    So sorry to hear about Phil’s dad. God bless him and the family.

    Losing a parent is one of the hardest things a person can go through. I miss my dad a lot.

    Phil is a great asset to UW and a good guy.

    Best wishes to you in this difficult time, Phil. My prayers are with you and your family. Peace…

    Terribly sorry to here about your family’s loss, Phil. If there’s anything you need, we’re always an email away, and I’m sure your father left this world knowing that he has a great son like you. May he rest in peace.


    My condolences to you and your family. Thanks for all the website work. Well done.


    We are all thinking of you today, buddy. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

    May your dad be in the place where dreams come true. Peace to you and yours, Phil.

    Very sorry to hear about your loss Phil. All the best to you during this time of sorrow.

    Phil, may the great memories you had with your dad live on. Condolences to you and your family.

    I’m sorry, Phil. It’s a miserable moment, trading the burden of seeing a loved one endure suffering, for the burden of going on without them. We all will be thinking of you.

    So sorry to hear about your loss, Phil. I lost my dad 20 years ago (I was 11) and I still miss him today, but it does get easier. Time heals all wounds. You’ll be in my prayers.


    You know how you have certain movies or shows that you just stop and watch if you’re flipping around the channels and you see it? Doesn’t matter how far into the program it is – might have just started, or it might be minutes from the end credits – you stop flipping and you watch. Field of Dreams is one of those flicks for me. Even so, for years I thought the “Dad, wanna have a catch?” scene was kind of corny. Then sometime after my father died in aught-five, I was flipping around and caught Field of Dreams. And that scene at the end wasn’t corny at all; it broke my heart all over again, and it does so every time now. Don’t know if that’s universal; my dad was raised in Iowa, and many of my fondest memories of dad involve watching or talking about or playing baseball. But that scene. God, what I wouldn’t give to have another catch with dad.

    Thinking of you and your family with heartfelt sympathy, Phil.

    Tremendously sorry Phil. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today.


    Very sorry to hear of your loss. My condolences to you and your family.


    Phil, Condolences to you and your family. Thanks for all your hard work on Uni-Watch.

    My condolences to you and your family. I know that you must have made your father proud.

    I’m sorry to hear of your father’s passing, Phil. It’s amazing how you kept diligently working on UW even with your father’s illness. That shows a lot of strength.

    Rest in Peace.

    My sincere condolences to you and yours. Thank you very much for all your great work on Uni Watch.

    My condolences Phil. Losing your father (& usually your best friend) is something one is never prepared for; most of us are here on this site because of those childhood memories of enjoying the games w/our fathers, putting on that first uniform to play catch with them, etc. Sports inevitably create a larger than life bond for fathers and sons & memories that will thankfully last forever. I know you made him a proud father in life and will continue to honor him after and that’s what is the most important. Please send my prayers to your family & do your best to keep them and yourself healthy during this rough time.

    Phil, I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you and your family can find solace in the many positive memories you have of your father.

    Sincerest condolences on your loss Phil…Be strong…you and your family are in the thoughts and prayers of all UniWatch fans.

    Hey Phil-

    I’ve read your entries religiously for years, and it’s truly evident you’re a really good, smart guy with a big heart. And that’s a real reflection on the man who raised you.

    Very sorry for your loss.

    Phil – sorry to hear about your Dad. I’m just about to begin my annual 16 hour drive to see my folks. My Dad is 84 and has been in poor health the last few years. I always wonder which one of our visits will be the last…


    My prayers go out to you and yours. My dad passed away when I was 7 years old. Now I’m 57. I did’t really get to know him. Be comforted that you had so much time with him, with memories to last a lifetime. God Bless.

    My thoughts are with you Phil. 15 years ago my Dad passed away suddenly. Barely retired. Sometimes it seems unfair, and in the same breath, a lingering illness, can be just as devastating. I’ll be 50 this year and I miss him all the time. When he passed, I received a card shortly afterwards. To this very day, the phrase inside, still manages to bring me comfort. The ones we love are never gone. They live within our hearts.

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I went through the experience two years ago, my father passed at what we estimate was stage 6 of 7 of Alzheimers stages, a disease without the physical suffering, but makes up with mental suffering. The image I have of him, was he gradually becoming transparant, ghost-like as he increasingly faded into a permanent incoherent dream like fog. Once the passing – all the recent family mental anguish disappeared and the impact of the overall loss hit, the recognition, we had lost the leader of our family, the one we had all looked up. I guess my sharing this – is an indication losses like this take time to heal.

    One uni note – Nashville uni’s look pretty good.

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