June 15, 2012
Caven Point is renamed in honor of Ed "Faa" Ford
The Jersey City Sharks reveal the sign for the Ed "Faa" Ford Athletic Complex. (Photo: Jason Bernstein)
By Jason Bernstein Editorial Director
JERSEY CITY – For many years the Caven Point Athletic Complex had been the unofficial home base for Jersey City legend Ed "Faa" Ford. The Faa may not physically be here anymore to roam to complex, but now it truly is his place.
Yesterday, the Caven Point Athletic Complex was officially renamed the Ed "Faa" Ford Athletic Complex in a ceremony at the place he called home.
Ford, was an assistant director in the Jersey City Department of Recreation when he passed away in April, 2011 at the age 65. A true larger-than-life figure in Jersey City and Hudson County, Ford was also a sports columnist, MLB scout, high school coach, referee and bar owner over a memorable career, which spanned more than four decades.
"It's well deserved," said Willie Banks, a former Major League pitcher and one of the Faa's many pupils over the years. "It's long overdue. How can you not name a place after a man that basically lived here? It's only right."
"He's an icon who touched everyone from Dean Smith to the kid who didn't turn out to be a great athlete, but because of The Faa's influence, he was able to get through a tough life," said St. Anthony head coach Bob Hurley. "You can fill a stadium with the kids that he affected from the time he began coaching at the Lincoln Park Little League or the St. Aidan's grammar school. He cared about kids."
It was a sentiment shared by the hundreds who attended the ceremony, which hosted by former Hudson Catholic basketball and New Jersey Nets play Jim Spanarkel. Among the dignitaries to speak about The Faa were Hall of Fame St. Anthony basketball coach Bob Hurley, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, former Hudson Catholic and NBA player Mike O'Koren, MLB Scout Al Goldis.
Regardless of one's age or background, everyone in attendance had at least one "Faa story," many of them unsuitable to print. Regardless of his at-times crazy antics, one thing that could never be disputed was Ford's love and dedication for youth athletics and the children of Hudson County.
"He was working the grassroots of youth baseball," Hurley said. "He's just an amazing, amazing guy. His energy used to be boundless. He could go on and on and on. He could be on the field for 12 hours and be exhausted, but be the happiest man in the world. He loved it. "
"This is where it all started for me," said Banks recalling when he first started being instructed by Ford at around the age of nine. "I'm thankful that I had an opportunity for him to touch my life the way he had."
The near-hour long ceremony was capped off by members of the Jersey City Sharks summer baseball team, a group Ford coached, unveiling the new sign, which will be display at the complex.
Not too long after the conclusion of the ceremony and as the crowd started to empty out, there was sight of the Sharks fielding grounders before playing a game and members of the Lincoln High School football team working out at the far end of the field in preparation for the upcoming season.
It was just the way The Faa would have wanted it.