A lifelong Marblehead resident who played football for three years at the high school (1946-48), Haines took it upon himself to make sure the team’s rich gridiron tradition was always documented and never forgotten. As a historian, he researched old newspaper clippings from the early part of the 20th century, collected photographs from every decade the team has been in existence, and worked tirelessly to promote the program and its athletes and coaches. Along with fellow town legends like Carl Siegel, Trem Robarts, Dr. George MacDonald and C. Elliott Roundy, among others, they produced one of the greatest North Shore football tomes of all-time, ‘75 Years of Marblehead Football 1909-1983.’
The Marblehead Magicians Gridiron Club meant the world to him; one of his favorite nights of the year was the annual ‘Old-Timers Night’ that Esso helped organize the Monday before Thanksgiving each year, bringing together former players from Marblehead and rival Swampscott at the Gerry 5 Club. Among the many awards he was recognized for over the years, The Rotary Club of Marblehead Harbor, the Association of New England Football Officials and the North Shore Baseball Umpires Association all made him an Honorary Life Member.
Esso worked Northeastern Conference football contests for over three decades — he’d famously shout ‘There’s some laundry on the field!’ when he worked the PA at Marblehead games after he retired when an official tossed a penalty flag — and was the head official in the Cape Ann League for another dozen.
You meet a lot of characters in this job; good people who love their towns, their teams and are fiercely proud of the traditions that intertwine both. They’re an integral part of the North Shore sports scene, woven into the fabric of the players we watch, the games we follow and serving as keepers of the flame.
Esso Haines fit that description to a T — and then some. His legacy and tireless work ethic for the team and the town that he loved won’t ever be forgotten.
Phil Stacey is the sports editor of The Salem News. Contact him at email@example.com or 978-338-2650, and follow him on Twitter @PhilStacey_SN.