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Remembering Jim Higgins

Jim Higgins - Photo: SportsPix LLC
03/29/2023 5:25 PM

Article By: Michael Lane

Jim Higgins, who served the Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) for nearly 50 years, passed away the morning of Tuesday, March 28, 2023. He touched the lives of all who knew him, and will be deeply missed. He was 74.

Dedicated. Selfless. Passionate. Knowledgeable. Loyal. Awesome. Rare.

Those are some of the words members of the CCBL community used to describe him. Most commonly used though, Higgins was a leader.

“Jim Higgins was a leader,” CCBL Hall of Famer Bob Corradi said. “He valued other people’s opinions, he listened, and he understood the importance of compromise. He could lead people towards a common goal, which was always to get the best results for the benefit of the league.”

Higgins first volunteered within the CCBL in the 1970s as an official scorer. Over the next five decades, he held many responsibilities as he worked to build the CCBL’s national reputation into what it is today.

Higgins served as the Head Scorer, League Publicist, and for more than 20 years, Senior Vice President. He was a founding member and chairman of the CCBL Hall of Fame committee, in addition to sitting on the finance committee and the safety and bylaws committee.

His creativity, steady, and loyal leadership was vital to the league’s unprecedented growth throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. His priority was always the best interest of the league.

“He was a very articulate and thoughtful leader who believed in the mission of the Cape League,” CCBL Hall of Famer Steven Wilson said. “He understood the balance between league and team needs, recognizing that both were equally as important.”

Higgins was instrumental in the expansion of the CCBL from eight teams to 10 teams in 1988, when the Bourne Braves and Brewster Whitecaps joined the league. He also helped revamp the playoff system to its current format of eight teams, ensuring meaningful baseball is played from the start of the season to the finish.

“Jim was one of the pillars of this league,” CCBL Hall of Famer Judy Scarafile said. “He was a fixture, a constant, and very well respected in the community.”

In 2017, Higgins was honored with the Fred Ebbett Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a CCBL volunteer for their significant contributions, integrity, and mentorship to the league.

It was a well-deserved honor for Higgins. His first affiliation with the league came as a kid, when he was a bat boy for the Harwich Mariners. Higgins grew up on Cape Cod, played high school baseball here, and raised his family here. Cape Cod was in his blood.

“The Cape League was part of his life,” said Corradi. “He loved the game of baseball, and to be involved with the league was a dream for him.”

The honor was particularly special because of the relationship Higgins had with Fred Ebbett.

In the early 1960s, Ebbett was Higgins’ high school baseball coach. Higgins was an all-star captain on those championship teams, helping build a lasting legacy in Harwich. When Higgins returned to Cape Cod as an adult, he was reunited with Ebbett, working alongside him as a CCBL officer during Ebbett’s tenure as league commissioner.

One of the most notable milestones during that tenure was the league’s shift to use wood bats in 1985, becoming the first collegiate summer league to make the change.

After a lifetime of service to the CCBL, it was a fitting culmination to receive the award named after his mentor, who had instilled the values of integrity, professionalism, fairness, and respect in him many years ago.

“He was a tremendous influence on everyone, he was someone you looked up to,” CCBL Hall of Famer Chuck Sturtevant said. “In a league full of volunteers, people like Jim attract others to get involved in the league.”

Outside of baseball, Jim’s other loves were his wife Colleen, his children Brian and Courtney, his grandchildren Lucas, Cole, and Matias, and his brother Bill.

A wake will be held Friday, March 31st between 4:00pm - 8:00pm at Doane Beal and Ames in Hyannis. A funeral mass will be held Saturday, April 1st at 11:00am at Our Lady of Assumption in Osterville.

In recognition of his tremendous efforts to better the Cape Cod Baseball League and our Cape Cod Community, the friends, family, and his colleagues at RogersGray, will name the new theater at the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame in his name.

This effort will help to continue his legacy of service, mentorship, and integrity long into the future. Learn more about the initiative here.