on November 5, 2001
J. Mahoney II was an Adonis who did not sculpture his sleek
physique at the gym. He was a player, and baseball was his game.
Mr. Mahoney, 37, coached his children's baseball teams and played
center field in two adult leagues. A firefighter at Rescue Company
4 in Elmhurst, Queens, he was sentimental in his approach to
the game. He had scribbled his wife's name inside his baseball
glove. He also insisted that his family perform a good luck
ritual before every game. "We always had to either kiss his
bat or touch his bat before he'd get up and touch the ball,"
his wife, Donna, said. "If we couldn't show up for the game,
he made sure that we touched his bat before he left." His ultimate
baseball fantasy was to crisscross the country and visit famous
baseball fields. Around home in Bohemia, N.Y., he was the originator
of projects that included making a vanity table for his wife
and adding several rooms to the house. He also worked as a cabinetmaker
and ran a tent-rental business on weekends. "He wasn't just
going to be sitting home watching a sitcom on a Friday night,"
said Ray Smith, a longtime friend and fellow firefighter. "He
was always doing something. He was always looking to learn more."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on April 14, 2002.