The Sussex County Miners will make history August 3rd when they become the first-ever baseball team to sign an active-duty New Jersey State Trooper to a professional baseball contract.
Albeit, for just one game. And his salary and any bonuses will be donated to a good cause.
The event will be part of a double-header at Skylands Stadium in Augusta. The first game will be a Battle of the Badges Softball Game between New Jersey and Pennsylvania State Police, followed by a baseball game between the Miners and the New Jersey Jackals in which N.J. State Trooper Detective Miguel Hidalgo will play.
Hidalgo played baseball at Rutgers alongside Miners General Manager Vin Sangemino under legendary college baseball coach Fred Hill.
Based on his performance, there will be additional incentives for donations such as walks and stolen bases and will also include $50 for runs scored, $100 for singles, $200 for doubles, $300 for triples and $400 for home runs.
All proceeds from the Battle of the Badges game and Hidalgo’s salary and bonuses will go to 11-year-old Cash Klem and the families of Pennsylvania State Troopers Jacques F. Rougeau Jr. and Lt. James A. Wagner.
Klem, of Stillwater, New Jersey, suffers from cerebellar ataxia and is currently in need of a new semi-powered wheelchair.
Rougeau, 29, was shot and killed in the line of duty on June 17th of this year. Wagner was shot and critically injured on the same day as Rougeau but is currently in recovery and has been given a hero’s discharge.
The Battle of the Badges will begin at 4 p.m. followed by the Miners-Jackals game at 7:05 p.m.
The games will include honor guards, mascots, bagpipe bands, motorcycle units and a helicopter flyover.
“We’re proud and honored to support those who put their lives on the line for all of us, day in and day out,” said Sangemino. “Softball and baseball are team sports, just like community-building is a team sport. We all need to do our part to strengthen and support our communities.”
Tickets for this event are available for $20-$22 each and are valid for both the 4 p.m. softball game and the 7:05 p.m. Miners’ baseball game.
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.
Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.
Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.
Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.