Former Mets pitcher John Franco recalls how baseball lifted NYC after 9/11

Sep 09, 2021 490

BY: John Franco

It has been 20 years now and I still can’t forget the look of sadness my teammates and I saw on the faces of the first responders at Ground Zero days after the attacks. They all looked so tired, and mentally and physically drained. They stayed there for days on end and were on a mission to find someone alive. Sadly, that never happened. It was such an eerie scene. I felt like we were in a war-torn country. There was so much destruction all around us.

I remember saying to my teammates Al Leiter and Todd Zeile, “What are we doing here? They don’t want to see some baseball players now.” But you know what? I was wrong. Our presence there gave the responders a little diversion. They had questions about how the Mets were doing. We brought down some Mets shirts and caps and exchanged them for police and firefighter hats. That led to us wearing the hats of every service agency in New York City that suffered a loss on 9/11.

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