New York Mets alumni were back in Queens Thursday – 20 years after the Amazins hosted the Big Apple’s first game since the terrorist attacks changed the city forever.
Former manager Bobby Valentine and some of his old squad came to CitiField for the 20th annual gala for Tuesday’s Children, a nonprofit that helps 9/11 families and other groups affected by terrorism and military conflict.
The event came shortly after the 20th anniversary of the historic Sept. 21, 2001 Mets game against the Atlanta Braves, which took place at CitiField’s predecessor, Shea Stadium.
Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza belted a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the 8th inning against the rival Braves, giving the grieving crowd something to celebrate.
Valentine said that game was “bigger than baseball.
”It was about bringing everyone together to help us heal,” Valentine said in a statement. “It was like putting a small bandage on a large wound.”
“We promised that night to be there for the children of those who lost their loved ones on 9/11,” he went on. “20 years later, we will never forget and will always be there for you. I am so proud that the 2001 Mets players who have continued to stand with Tuesday’s Children today and help others who have been impacted by terrorism.”
Also taking part in the gala were Edgardo Alfonso, Jon Franco – the Mets all-time saves leader, Al Leiter and Todd Zeile.
9/11 family members included Mets media relations associate Rob Schardt, whose dad John Schardt died in the 2001 attacks as a member of FDNY.
Tuesday’s Children says it has provided support to 42,000 people impacted by terrorism and mass violence in the last two decades, including 3,051 children who lost a parent on 9/11.