Mike Piazza disappointed that 9/11 Mets jersey is being auctioned off

394801 04: Catcher Mike Piazza of the New York Mets wears a Port Authority Police hat in honor of the dead and missing emergency personnel before the Mets” game against the Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium in Flushing, NY September 21, 2001 in the first major sporting event in the New York area since the World Trade Center disaster. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Allsport/Getty Images)

When the New York Mets took the field for the first time after the September 11 terrorist attacks, it was a special moment for everyone involved and everyone watching. Mike Piazza, the face of that Mets squad, hit a two-run homerun in the eighth inning to put them ahead of the Atlanta Braves. The ensuing celebration led to  “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants and became a moment so much bigger than just winning a baseball game.

As he rounded the bases, Piazza’s Mets jersey was emblazoned with an American flag patch and 9-11-01 patch. Afterward, the soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer signed the jersey and gave it to the Mets organization to showcase for years to come.

Instead, the cash-strapped Mets sold it three years ago as part of a private sale. Now that jersey is going up for auction and Piazza is not pleased that this emotional moment is being bilked for cash.

“I’m very disappointed with the situation regarding my game jersey from September 21st, 2001,’’ Piazza told The Post in an email Tuesday, his first comments regarding the iconic jersey.

“I’ve expressed my feelings to Jeff [Wilpon] and the Mets. And while it never should have left Citi Field, they have assured me that contact with the seller has been made and they are making a concerted effort to get the jersey back. I’m hopeful that an agreement can be reached and we can give back to the fans and all New Yorkers a piece of that evening that was more than just a game.’’

The Mets acknowledged that they made a mistake in selling the jersey, though they haven’t said what, if anything, they plan to do to remedy the situation.

“We made a mistake in selling the jersey and Jeff called Mike to express our regret in so doing,’’ the statement said. “We have dedicated a section in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum to celebrate Mike’s achievements and his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and are exploring memorabilia to display in that area.

“We can’t verify the item being auctioned, but can confirm that our memorabilia group sold a jersey that meets this description, which was not authenticated with respect to game use.’’

Goldin Auctions is handling the auction and the ongoing bidding is currently at $42,000. Bidding will culminate on April 30.

While the right thing to do would have been for the Mets to have never sold the jersey, they’re now in a position where a goodwill gesture of buying back the jersey could go a long way. When it comes to the Mets and money, however, it’s never a good idea to assume they’ll do the right thing with it.

 [NY Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.