HERE'S A TRIVIA question for baseball fans: Where did Babe Ruth play the final game of his career?
No, it wasn't in Pittsburgh on May 25, 1935, as some legends suggest, when he hit three home runs and a single and drove in six runs. It was five days later in Philadelphia, playing in the old Baker Bowl when he got no hits and misjudged a fly ball.
Maybe you didn't know this trifling fact from a legendary career, but the Rev. Howard J. Heim did.
Father Heim dispatched a letter to the Inquirer in 1996 to correct a sports columnist who wrote that Babe's final game was played at Shibe Park. Not so, the good Jesuit corrected. The Phillies didn't start to play at Shibe until July 4, 1938.
"He was such a fan," said his sister Lois Kuscin. "When the Phillies won the World Series, other priests congratulated him as though he had done it himself."
Father Heim, a science teacher at St. Joseph's University for 40 years and a Jesuit priest for 55 years, died Friday of complications of heart disease. He was 86 and was living at Manresa Hall in Merion Station.
"He was extremely dedicated to teaching," his sister said. "He loved teaching."
His brother, Richard, said Howard was so fond of St. Joseph's that whenever they drove past it, "he would clap his hands and say, 'That is the greatest place in the world!'
"He was devoted to his profession. The students gave him the nickname 'Buzz,' apparently because he was so energetic, always buzzing around.
"He was a quiet man, but with his students, he was one of the boys. He loved hanging out with his nephews and nieces. He was very family-oriented."
Howard Heim grew up in Wissinoming, playing sandlot ball with his brothers and neighborhood kids, but he never played organized sports.
"People used to challenge him on the Phillies' history, and he always knew the answer," his sister said.
He would get out to several games a year, until recent years when a heart condition kept him away from the stadium.
Howard Heim was born in Philadelphia to Emma Mary Kern and Herman Heim. He attended All Saints and St. Bartholomew Parochial Schools, and St. Joseph's Prep.
He entered the Society of Jesus on July 30, 1940, at the Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, Pa. He graduated from Woodstock College in Maryland in 1946.
He spent three years teaching physics at what was then St. Joseph's College, then continued his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He later earned graduate degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained a priest on June 21, 1953, by Baltimore Archbishop Francis P. Keough, at Woodstock College. He professed his final vows Aug. 15, 1956.
Father Heim celebrated his first Mass at St. Bartholomew's Church, 5600 Jackson St., on Sunday, June 28, 1953, his parents' 32nd wedding anniversary.
His early teaching assignments included Wheeling College, now Wheeling Jesuit University, in Wheeling, W.Va., where he taught physics, and Loyola High School, in Baltimore, where he taught geometry and religion.
In 1960, he returned to St. Joseph's, where he taught physics until 1996.
He remained at the college as a professor emeritus until 2000, when he moved to Manresa Hall. He served as chaplain for the sisters of the Visitation Monastery of Philadelphia from 1999 to 2005.
He also is survived by another sister, Emma Rumble. He was predeceased by another sister, Mae Schoeler.