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FARMINGTON — The Connie Mack World Series won't be the same.

The beloved national championship series will return to Farmington for the 51st straight year next summer, but one of the most well-known, liked and respected faces of the series will not be back.

Joe Hayden Jr., longtime manager of Cincinnati's Midland Redskins, died Nov. 30. He was 85.

"He was definitely an icon when it came to being a part of the Connie Mack World Series," said Kim Carpenter, president and chairman of the Connie Mack World Series Association. "Not only was he a generous individual, Joe was very high on being a part of the Connie Mack World Series. He will be sorely missed."

After forming the Midland program in 1966, Hayden brought his first team to the CMWS in 1981 and won his first title in 1984. The '84 championship was the first of 13 for Hayden and the Redskins — including two threepeats from 1991-93 and 2009-11 — along with six runner-up and four third-place finishes. Hayden named the Midland program the Redskins after the athletic teams at Miami (Ohio) University, his alma mater, which named its baseball field after him.

In 2012, Hayden became one of two coaches to be inducted into the CMWS Hall of Fame, and this summer, the Redskins made their 24th consecutive trip to Farmington for the CMWS.

"The Midland Redskins are one of the perennial powerhouses in amateur baseball in the country," Carpenter said. "But what he did for the kids, not only in his community, but other in other communities, as well, is amazing. He will forever be remembered, not only in this community but in communities all over the country. His love of the game and his love for the kids was second to none. Not only was he a gentleman of the game, but a gentleman of life."

Hayden found just as much success away from the baseball diamond as he had on it. He served as CEO of The Midland Company, guiding it from a modest automobile finance company to a Fortune 2000 specialty insurance and river transportation business.

But with all of his success in business and baseball, Hayden never forgot what was most important to him, his family.

"He has just touched so many people in so many areas of life," said Dave Evans, who joined the Midland coaching staff in 1990 and served as Hayden's co-manager of the Redskins the past several seasons. "He's been fantastic in the business world and was lucky enough to win 13 national championships, and he was a true family man. I have the utmost respect for him for so many reasons."

With the Redskins' success on the baseball field, the team traveled around the country summer after summer for various tournaments. But as the years went on, Hayden missed tournaments and trips to stay home with Lois, his wife of 63 years.

While Hayden elected not to travel with his team, he always knew what was going on.

Evans said that during trips, Hayden was in contact with the team on nearly a daily basis, especially during the CMWS, something he held in high regard.

"I think it was something that really kept him going," Evans said. "It was our goal every year to make the Connie Mack and go down to Farmington. He loved the baseball and the event, but most of all, he loved being around the people down there. He thoroughly enjoyed being around the people of Farmington, New Mexico."

Karl Schneider covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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