I was asked by the designer of our website, Mike Mackin, to try to explain to visitors of our site who James"Froggy" Carr was. An almost impossible task but I'll do my best. Like most of us that grew up during the 60's, Froggy was a product of the times. He spent much time trying to deal with the social changes that were taking place. Music because of the English invasion was going thru a drastic change. Drugs were being introduced into blue collar social situations. Many of our friends were being drafted and sent to a war 10,000 miles away and some other friends were attending protests against the Viet Nam War. Froggy was a complex guy to begin with and some of these new life experiences didn't make things any easier for him.
The first time I met Froggy was the summer of 1963, Sportland Pier, in Wildwood N.J. Chucky Smith introduced us and we spent the day hanging out at the pool. Froggy wasn't very impressed by me because that night Smitty informed me that Froggy wanted to fight me. Let me say that in spite of becoming great friends just a few months later, our personalities were completely opposite. Froggy was mostly quiet and introverted and lets just say that I wasn't. I probably was showing off and Froggy felt it was his responsibility to knock me down a few pegs. Well, the cops were all over the boardwalk that night and the fight never happened.
That September we both started our freshman year at Bishop Neumann and started to get to know each other. Within a year we were close and by junior year we were best friends.
Froggy had a lot of great qualities but without a doubt his greatest was his loyalty and his worst was his temper. Froggy was what we call a "All Schoolyard Athlete". He never really tried to play High School ball but in the neighborhood he was a legend. Anyone old enough to remember the early E.O.M. teams of the mid 60'S has at least a half dozen Froggy stories.
In the fall of 1966 we were 2 of the 4 backfield components of the 1st ever 125 lb. E.O.M. football team. Froggy was the fullback & middle linebacker. Smitty and I were the halfbacks and outside linebackers. I watched Froggy do some amazing things that year. Some maybe a little outside the rule book. Unfortunately there were a few fights after games that season and he was usually in the middle of them. In spite of that, if they ever picked an all-time E.O.M. defense, Froggy would have to be on it. He was tenacious. I never met anyone that hated to lose more than Froggy did. Intensity doesn't even begin to describe the focus he was capable of.
Froggy was also an integral part of one of the first groups of teenagers to ever hang out at Rev. Burke. The playground was relatively new and we made it our home. There was 30 or 40 young guys in our crowd. Mostly Neumann graduates from 66,67 and 68 and Froggy was the centerpiece. He lived at 138 Jackson St. so he could look out his front door & see who was over the park. You were never on the corner long before Froggy showed up, especially if he liked you. Like all of us, he loved being around people he liked and didn't want any part of you if he didn't like you. Everyone always knew where they stood with Froggy. He truly wore his feeling on his sleeve. I always regarded Froggy as the prototype for 2nd streeters. By that I mean, there was no room for bullshit. Froggy as about 5'8" and 160 lbs. but he never let anyone in his life intimidate him. He had the guts of a burglar and he was honest to a fault. Even if you were his friend, if you did something he didn't like, he let you know about it, but no one ever had a better friend.
Some of the people Froggy cared the most about were his old friends like the Sullivan brothers (Ritchie & Mikey), Bill Murtha, Smitty, Bobby McSwiggan, Mickey Maloney, Bennie (William) Bergman, Connie Calter, Popeye Coney, Charlie Jones, Mickey Green and Denny Short. Froggy knew what he admired in people and responded very strongly to his friends. Sometimes he could really piss you off like the dozen or so times I watch him either throw, punt or dropkick the basketball over the fence at 2ND & Jackson because his team just lost a tough 4 on 4 game. Immediately after one of these temper attacks he would usually do the same thing. He would turn his usual shade of light purple (he was the only person I ever seen that could actually turn purple), put his head down and head for the Jackson St. gate. Sometimes he would go straight to his house and sometimes he would retrieve the ball, throw it back over the fence to us and then head home. Most times we wouldn't see him until the next day because it would take him a while to calm down. We could kid him about it the next day but I never heard anyone complain while it was happening. As crazy as some of his tantrums were, his friendship and loyalty were unmatched. I know it's a cliche but Froggy really would take a bullet for you. He was practically incapable of fear. I have so many memories of Frog that I could go on forever.
Let me tell you a little something about the last 2 days of his life. It was October 31st 1970, Saturday night and a party was at Billy Murtha's house. Billy was headed for the Army and eventually Viet Nam. Everyone had a great time and Froggy had a football game the next day. He was playing for the under 21 team from 2ND & Jackson in the 7th & Pattison (Pat Lanni) league. We left the party together and promised to meet the next morning. In spite of a wicked hangover, I woke up at 9am to Froggy's voice coming from my kitchen. I walked down the steps (barely) and he was having coffee with my father-in-law. Except for his shoulder pads & helmet he had on his entire uniform. The game wasn't until 3 more hrs. but he was ready. He kidded me about the party and told me to get dressed. I wasn't on the team but we walked down to 3rd & Wolf and waited for the rest of the team. I drove him and a few others to the game and stayed thru the 1st half. When I left to attend a union meeting he was making every tackle as usual. Sometime in the 2nd half he made a helmet to helmet tackle and got his bell rung. He took himself out of the game (something he would never do) and laid on the sideline to recover (something he never did). No one realized but the impact had caused a ruptured blood vessel in his head. He was bleeding internally. In only a few minutes he was already unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital and the game continued. After the union meeting I went to Joey Evans' basement for a Newyears meeting where I was told Froggy had gotten hurt but no one knew how serious. An hour later Frog's brother Jackie called to say Frog wasn't doing well. We went to Jefferson Hospital and gave blood but were not allowed to see him. When we finally got to see him (about 3 days later) he was in a coma. We all took turns going to the hospital in the next 6 weeks but he never regained consciousness. He died on Dec.12th,1970. Our hearts were broken.
We had already been in the process of starting our own mummers club (The Happy Hour) but from the day Froggy died it would become the James "Froggy" Carr Club. We knew no matter what, we had to get this club established for ourselves but especially for Froggy. Today we have been around almost 46 yrs. and are still going strong. Many of the guys who were down in Joey Evans' basement that Sunday afternoon are still members and we still talk to this day about some of his escapades and laugh about what a character he really was.
Froggy was the best friend I ever had and 46 years later I still miss him. He was a true 2nd streeter. Guts and loyalty were his greatest assets. So if anyone ever asks, "Exactly who was Froggy Carr"? Just tell them, he was the Heart & Soul of 2nd & Jackson. Sincerely, John B. Hall PS. I have met hundreds of people over the years from just about every neighborhood in the city and I can honestly say I have never met anyone who even remotely reminded me of Froggy.