Mets go to bat for E. 13th firehouse hard hit on 9/11


By Dan Miller 

The Mets continued a tradition of visiting firehouses every year around the anniversary of 9/11 by stopping by Ladder 3 on E. 13th St. last Friday.

Third baseman David Wright, who has led the yearly visits since 2004 when he reached the Majors, was joined by former All-Stars relief pitcher John Franco and catcher Mike Piazza.

The players were greeted by Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano, holding his young grandson, first responders who worked at the E. 13th St. firehouse on 9/11 and the firehouse’s current crew of Bravest. Ladder 3 lost 12 firefighters on 9/11.

The players chatted with a number of first responders and shared stories about where they were during the World Trade Center attack. Franco recalled that the Mets were on the road when word came about the attack. The pitcher had been very concerned about his uncle and two cousins, who were firefighters in 2001.

“We were in Pittsburgh playing the Pirates when we got word what had happened,” Franco said. “Since we heard about it early in the morning, our first concern was for our families and then the people of New York City.”

Franco, who lost two friends when the Twin Towers came down, said of the tragic day, “It is close to my heart.”

One of the first responders who survived 9/11 recalled how Piazza had described the feeling of hitting the Mets’ first home run after baseball had been cancelled for a few days in 2001 after the attack.

Piazza was credited with having inspired Mike Carroll, then 5 years old, when the two met during a 9/11 event. Young Mike’s father, Michael Carroll, was among the Ladder 3 firefighters who perished in the Trade Center.

Piazza signed a baseball last Friday for Mike Carroll, now 15, who remembered the star catcher’s concern for the families of the 9/11 victims.

Also attending the event were Mets co-owner Jeff Wilpon and Mets Vice President David Newman.

“We salute the New York Mets for your continued support of New York’s Bravest,” said Fire Commissioner Casanno.

Two days later, on Sunday evening Sept. 11, the Mets hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony prior to their game against the Chicago Cubs. The ceremony’s highlights included an emotional rendition of the national anthem by crooner Marc Anthony and a moment of silence following the unfurling of an enormous American flag, carried by first responders and others. Franco threw out the first pitch.