by Pete Janny, Sports Editor
Losing someone you love is the greatest pain to overcome. The void will never quite be filled from that loss but the memories and stories of that person can be a source of healing.
20 years ago, the world of a family from Brooklyn changed forever at a moment’s notice. The death of Manhattan alum Jimmy Quinn on Sept. 11, 2001, sent shockwaves through the Jasper community and dealt unimaginable grief to the rest of the Quinn family, including his older brother, Michael, and younger brother, Joe.
“He was a very generous and caring brother,” Michael said.
The trajectory of their lives was drastically upended, with Joe answering the call to serve his country for six years in the U.S. Army defined by three deployments in Iran and Afghanistan. Michael, being the oldest child, had to be the glue that kept everything together back home in the states during Joe’s role in the Bush Administration’s War on Terror following the Sept. 11 attacks.
Jimmy was 23 years old when he never came home on Sept. 11. His journey took him from Xaverian High School to Manhattan College to the North Tower of the World Trade Center where he worked for Cantor Fitzgerald.
But to truly know Jimmy Quinn was to understand the part of him that loved being a Jasper. He was a popular figure on campus, but most importantly he had an ability to attract others to him with his bubbly personality.
“He was a very humble guy who always had a smile on his face,” said Billy Carroll ‘99, a close friend and roommate of Jimmy’s at Manhattan.
His affinity for sports was part of Jimmy’s magic according to close friends and family. He and Carroll’s first encounter quickly morphed into a tangent laced with chatter and banter about their beloved New York Mets. The Mets were the lifeblood of their instant chemistry.
“Within a five-minute conversation we started talking about baseball and the Mets,” Carroll said. “Everything was about the Mets with him.”
Fittingly, baseball acted as a panacea in New York in the immediate aftermath of the attack. The memories associated
with the return of baseball after such tragedy never fail to strike an emotional chord with Mets and Yankees fans.
There was an emotional connection between Jimmy’s legacy and Mike Piazza’s two-run go-ahead home run on Sept. 21., only 10 days removed from Jimmy’s passing. Like the rest of New Yorkers, that home run gave Jimmy’s loved ones hope for the road ahead.
“I remember watching that game and still not knowing of his whereabouts,” Carroll said.
Along with Piazza, baseball icons like Derek Jeter and Bobby Valentine were huge for the city’s morale too. There was of course Jeter’s Mr. November moment in the postseason that brought back many memories in light of Jeter’s recent induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, according to Carroll.
“It was a way to turn something tragic into unity,” Carroll said.
Jimmy’s career at Manhattan was also highlighted by his role as a student manager for the men’s basketball team. The head coach of that golden era of Jasper basketball, which included an upset win over Oklahoma in the opening round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament,
was Fran Fraschilla. Having trusted Jimmy to positively in- fluence his teams, Fraschilla saw something special in his fellow Brooklyn native.
“We send our love to the Quinn family. Jimmy Quinn was a huge part of our @JasperMBB family & he is dearly missed but will never be forgotten,” Fraschilla tweeted on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11.
Jimmy also inspired the inception of a new family business. In 2015, Michael and Joe brought back Feltman’s of Coney Island, known as America’s first hot dog brand. Today, it is currently one of the most successful sellers in the hotdog market.
“Throughout the year, a portion of Feltman’s online sales are donated to support organizations that provide social, educational, and mental health services to military heroes and their families, such as the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Tuesday’s Children, the Headstrong Project, the Travis Manion Foundation, and more,” Michael Quinn told the Quad.
However, beyond the thriving business, the annual tradition that honors Jimmy every year is a trip to a Mets game. Whether it is watching the
2000 Subway World Series or Wally Backman handing Jim- my a game-winning ball in 1986 at his first game, all the Mets memories with Jimmy are easy to cherish. The Quinn broth- ers trace their love of the Mets back to their mother who made regular trips on the subway to the Polo Grounds.
For the 20th Annual Jimmy Quinn game, the two Quinn brothers and Carroll will gather in section 436 at Citi Field where they have 100 tickets reserved for family and friends to watch the Mets versus Yankees. With Jimmy’s spirit alive in them, the group will all wear customized orange shirts with Jimmy’s name on the front and Quinn on the back.
Michael plans to be on the edge of his seat looking for signs of Jimmy throughout the game. For another Mike Piazza-esque moment such as his homer 10 days later as well as his homer on the First Annual Jimmy Quinn Game on a mid-summer day in 2002. Additionally, Joe Quinn will be honored as the veteran of the game while Jimmy’s face will appear on the jumbotron, making it the perfect day for a ball game in New York City.
“There won’t be a dry eye in the house.”