Baseball After September 11

A Ball, a Homer and the Healing of America

Fifteen years after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum paid tribute to baseball’s role in the healing process with a six-month exhibit, as well as with a special recognition during the recent Hall of Fame Weekend.

On June 18, the Museum cut the ribbon on an exhibit case that will remain open through the end of the year. The centerpiece in ‘Baseball After 9/11’ will be the Mets jersey 2016 Hall of Fame electee Mike Piazza wore on September 21, 2001, in the first game played in New York after the attack on the World Trade Center. Piazza’s dramatic eighth inning home run propelled the Mets to a 3-2 victory over Atlanta at Shea Stadium.

Additional artifacts in ‘Baseball After 9/11’ included both the NYPD hat worn by Mets manager Bobby Valentine and the FDNY hat worn by Mets pitcher John Franco on September 21, 2001, as well as a game ticket to the scheduled September 11 game at Yankee Stadium between the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox.

During the Hall of Fame Weekend, as part of the annual awards presentation, FDNY Battalion Chief Vin Mavaro shared his thoughts and memories of baseball’s role in helping New York City — and the nation — begin to recover from the 9/11 attacks. In late September 2001, Mavaro found a baseball in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Upon donating it to the museum, Mavaro explained at the time that the ball offered an unexpected, almost visceral, reminder of the ideal so many of us learned as children, the notion that a game — and its immortals — can have melding, communal power.

Mavaro was recognized along with 2016 J.G. Taylor Spink Award Winner Dan Shaughnessy and 2016 Ford C. Frick Award winner Graham McNamee.

– Photos by Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame