#Shortstops: Heroes’ hat
For Brooklyn native and New York Mets player John Franco, it was truly personal. Franco and the Mets had been scheduled to play in Pittsburgh against the Pirates that night, so were out of town. With air travel canceled and the shock of the attacks, Major League Baseball postponed all games until Sept. 17. Franco and his teammates returned home by bus, a ride of more than eight hours. What they saw shocked them.
“I felt like we were in a war-torn country,” wrote Franco in an article in the New York Daily News to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
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Their home park, Shea Stadium, had turned into a drop-off station for donations for rescuers at Ground Zero. Players loaded trucks with supplies. They visited the site themselves to give the rescuers support. While there they traded Mets shirts and caps for police and firefighter hats, including one now a part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s collection. According to Franco he is “proud of the many things our team did that September, but wearing the hats was something special.”
“We [the Mets] helped New York City be a better place,” Franco said, “and that is more important than any ring or championship.”
Pam Cummings was the 2022 manuscript archives intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development